N504m fraud; Group seeks to prosecute Ogbulafor

The PDP Chairman Price Vincent Ogbulafor allegedly bought a house worth N400 million within three months of becoming the ruling party’s chairman. He also misappropriated N104 million belonging to the Federal Government when he was Minister of Special Duties (Economic Affairs).


N504m Fraud: Ogbulafor Probe At Critical Stage – LEADERSHIP 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that investigation into allegations of embezzlement and corrupt enrichment to the tune of over N504 million against the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, is full blown and is at a critical stage.

But the commission has refused to disclose the facts and evidence it has gathered so far in the investigation, just as it maintained that any attempt to divulge vital information on the matter would compromise the investigation and potentially jeopardize its ability to prosecute based on the petition before it.

The ICPC’s position is contained in an affidavit in support of its memorandum of conditional appearance filed in an application brought by the petitioner, Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation, before the court, through its counsel, Mr. John Nwoke Kalu.

The group is praying the court for a judicial review of the suit it filed, seeking the court’s order of mandamus compelling ICPC to investigate and prosecute Ogbulafor for corruption practices, ranging from obtaining gratification and embezzlement.

In a petition to the ICPC dated July 4, 2009, the Foundation had accused Ogbulafor of buying a house worth N400 million within three months of becoming the ruling party’s chairman.

While noting that Ogbulafor was not a business mogul before his assumption of office, the group stated, “Without doubt, the sum of N400 million expended by Prince Ogbulafor is clearly an indication of an assertion to his personal resources, which should attract his prosecution.”

According to the petition, an allegation of financial impropriety was made against Ogbulafor in 2000 when he was Minister of Special Duties (Economic Affairs), a position that conferred on him the power to supervise the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC).

It stated: “The sum of N104 million belonging to the Federal Government was distributed under the supervision and or connivance of Prince Ogbulafor. That the federal government did not receive any consideration on the above sum as they were distributed and paid out for the execution of no-existent contract.

“Prince Ogbulafor and several others shared the loot and doctored the papers to cover their paths. That Prince Ogbulafor, in a rare show of honesty in dishonesty, admitted receiving N2 million from the said lump sum. He, however, claimed it was an ex-gratia payment to aid him pursue an undisclosed political venture.”

The group further alleged that the sharing formula showed that the PDP national chairman was given N28 million through one Chris Nwoke who, he said, was well known to him.

In the suit before the court headed by Justice Kolawole, the petitioner is praying for an order of mandamus compelling ICPC to investigate and prosecute Ogbulafor, even as it is asking the court for an order compelling the commission to make available to it the report containing the outcome of investigation into the matter.

But the ICPC told the court that Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation is under the erroneous belief that investigations have been concluded.

While admitting that the said petition was received at the commission against Ogbulafor and that investigations have since commenced, the affidavit deposed to by the ICPC’s litigation clerk, Ibrahim Yahaya, stated, “This investigation is not yet concluded but is at a critical stage.”

Also, in a preliminary objection filed before the court, the ICPC contended that because of the sensitive nature of its statutory functions, it cannot be compelled to make public or disclose the outcome of its investigation in any petition submitted to it as the presumption of the law is that the ICPC will at all times act in the public interest to serve the ends of justice.

The court has adjourned further hearing on the matter to December 7, 2009.