- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Friday, 15 October 2010 08:29
- Written by Admin
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They were charged with fresh 65 counts bordering on defrauding the government of over N5.2 billion in the Rural Electrification Agency project.
The fund was said to have been domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria. They allegedly diverted the money in the guise of paying over 65 fictitious companies that were purportedly awarded contracts for Grid Extension and Solar Electricity project.
The three serving lawmakers pleaded not guilty to the charges.
EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla asked for a short date within which to began trial and to present witnesses.
Counsel to the first accused, S. I. Ameh (SAN), prayed the court to sustain the bail earlier granted his client, promising that the sureties were ready to stand by their earlier commitments.
The other accused persons aligned themselves with the pleas of the first accused.
Justice Abimbola Banjoko adjourned the case till December 6 for definite hearing.
Ugbane, Elumelu and seven others were originally arraigned on October 30 last year on 130 counts charge.
Three lawmakers among them were originally and jointly charged with 62 counts while the other six accused were jointly charged with 68.
The three lawmakers are: Hon. Godwin Ndidi Elumelu, Senator Nicholas Yahaya Ugbane and Hon. Jibo Mohammed. The other accused are Samuel Ibi Gekpe an engineer, Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, Simon Kirdi Nanle, Lawrence Kayode Orekoya, an engineer, Abdulsamad Garba Jahun and Lawyer Kayode Oyedeji.
One of the fresh count charges reads: "That you Senator Nicolas Yahaya Ugbane, Hon. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, and Hon. Jibo Mohammed, sometime in December 2008, in Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High court of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, while serving as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, respectively; abetted the commission of an offence, to wit: Criminal Breach of trust by Public Servants in the purported award of 4 (Nos) Solar Electrification contracts to Helping Hands International Ltd, cumulatively amounting to N119,669,654.28 (One hundred and Nineteen Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira, Twenty Eight Kobo Only) which contract were unlawfully awarded from the 2008 Amended Budget of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA); and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 83(b0 and punishable under Section 85 of the penal code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria(Abuja) 1990."