Nigeria: EFCC Arraigns Ex-Nigerian Minister On N148 Million Corruption Charges

The anti-corruption agency accused the ex-minister of corruptly receiving the money meant for payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated PHCN workers in 2014.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, arraigned a former Minister of State for Power, Muhammed Wakil, on two counts of corruption at the the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Apo, Abuja.

The prosecution alleged that the defendant, in 2014, corruptly received the sum of N148million from the funds approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff members of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN).

He was said to have received the money from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited through the Polaris Bank account of his firm, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited.

He pleaded not guilty when the charges when read to him on Monday.

The judge, S.B. Belgore, ordered the remand of the defendant in EFCC custody and adjourned till March 31for the determination of his bail application.

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EFCC Press Release

EFCC Arraigns Ex -Power Minister for N148m PHCH Severance Benefit Bribe

The Economic and financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, March 8, 2021 arraigned a former minister of state for power, Muhammed Wakil, before Justice S.B.Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a two counts charge of corruption and abuse of office.

Wakil was arraigned alongside two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving N148,000,000.00 (One Hundred and forty Eight Million Naira Only), as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27,188,232,208.00(Twenty Seven Billion, One hundred and Eighty Eight million, two hundred and thirty two thousand ,Two hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Kobo) approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

Count one of the charge reads; "That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118,000,000.00(One Hundred and Eighteen Million) Naira only through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited's Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27,188,232,208.20(Twenty Seven Billion, One Hundred and Eighty Eight Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-two Thousand ,Two Hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Kobo) only being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act."

When the charges were read, the defendant pleaded "not guilty."

Counsel for the prosecution, Benjamin Manji asked the court to set a date for commencement of trial and remand the defendant at a Correctional Centre, pending trial.

However counsel for the defendants, B.C Igwilo SAN, prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant. "My lord, our humble application is for the first defendant to be admitted to bail, "he said

But the prosecution counsel opposed the oral application, while urging the Court to order the defendant to file the application formally.

Justice Belgore adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021 for determination of bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.

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