N2.3bn Fraud: Ogbulafor’s Trial Begins

Prince Vincent OgbulaforThe Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor and three others were arraigned before Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court, Abuja on a 16-count charge of abuse of office and theft. Ogbulafor and the others, Mr. Emeka Ebilah, Henry Okoh and Jude Nwokoro were alleged to have conspired to defraud the Federal Government of various sums of money using

their position in the National Economic Intelligence Committee, sometime in 2005 to amass wealth for themselves in the conduct of their official duties. 

They allegedly included names of companies which did not execute any contract for the Federal Government in the verified contracts’ list for beneficiaries of FG’s payment for contracts executed. 

These companies are Henchiriko Nigeria Ltd, DHL Consultants, Chekwas Industries, Emperol Company Ltd, Gomp-Con Associates and Ebilah-Falomon and Partners.

These companies were fraudulently paid N82.6m, N11.5m, N6.2m, N12.7m, N11.6m and N14.9m respectively for contracts not awarded and executed. 

Ogbulafor and the other accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Consequently, Mr. J. K. Gadzama, Ogbulafor’s lawyer and the lawyers for the co-accused persons, made an oral application for bail.

The defence counsel relied on Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 341(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, CPC and Section 42(2) of the ICPC Act which make bailable all offences they were charged with, and urged the court to grant the accused persons bail.

Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo, the prosecuting counsel did not oppose the bail as he argued that the offences for which Ogbulafor and the others were standing trial were indeed bailable.

He, however, urged the court to disregard the submission made by Ogbulafor’s lawyer that he should be granted bail on self-recognition.

He called on the court to grant them bail on such conditions that would ensure that the accused persons come to court to face their trial.

In his ruling, Justice Bello granted Ogbulafor and the others bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties  each in the same amount. The trial was adjourned till 21 June, 2010. 

—Nnamdi Felix /Abuja, The PM News