Nigeria: EFCC Docks 5 for Alleged N20 Million Contract Fraud

Abuja — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned Olugbenga Sokunbi, Henry Philemon, Chris Ogwo, Eze Daniel Ebeku, and Emmanuel Okwara (at large) before Justice Samira Bature of Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) High Court, sitting in Maitama for allegedly obtaining the sum of N20,000,000 under false pretence from Ujat Nigeria Limited.

EFCC spokesperson, Tony Orilade, explained that the arraignment of the accused, who are facing a 10-count charge, yesterday, followed a petition to the EFCC by the complainant, who alleged that the accused, under false pretence received N20,000,000 from his company, Ujat Nigeria Limited, to facilitate an award of contracts from Total E and P Nigeria Limited, Port Harcourt for the construction of an ultra-modern market and a cottage hospital in Igbuduya Clan, Ahoada Local Government of Rivers State.

Count one of the charge reads: "That you, Olugbenga Sokunbo, Henry Philemon, Eze Daniel Ebeku, Onyegiuwa Samuel and Emmanuel Okwara now at large sometime between April and September, 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, obtained the aggregate sum of N20million from Ujat Nigeria Limited under the false pretense that the money will be used to facilitate the award of contracts from Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Port Harcourt for the construction of an ultra-modern market and a cottage hospital at Igbuduya clan in Ahoada West Local Government of River State; a pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Order Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006 and punishable under Section 1 of (3) of the Act."

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, Dichi Geishou Usman to ask for a trial date and a prayer for the court to remand the defendants in Kuje Prison.

The defense counsel, for the first, second and third defendants told the court about a pending application for bail on behalf of his clients, and prayed the court to grant them bail on liberal terms, arguing the alleged offence did not attract capital punishment and was bailable.

Justice Bature ordered the defendants to be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter to Wednesday May 15, 2019, for hearing on the bail application.

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