The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned the immediate past Interior Minister, Abba Moro, on an 11-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, procurement fraud and money laundering.
Mr. Moro was arraigned before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, alongside three others for their roles in the botched March 15, 2014 immigration recruitment exercise that killed no fewer than 20 job seekers across the country, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
His co-accused are: permanent secretary of the ministry at the time, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; a deputy director in the ministry, F. O Alayebami; one Mahmood Ahmadu (at large), and the contracting firm given the recruitment job, Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC accused the defendants of defrauding 676,675 Nigerian applicants of N676,675,000 (Six Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira).
Each of the 676,675 applicants were charged N1,000 each for the participating in the recruitment exercise.
The anti-graft agency is also accusing the defendants of flouting the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC said Drexel EFCC had no prior advertisement and no needs assessment and procurement plan was carried out before the contract was awarded.
According to the anti-graft agency, the contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of 4 (Four) firms without seeking the approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement, contrary to sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same act.
Drexel is also alleged to be unregistered and had no legal capacity to enter into the said contract.
There is also said to be no budgetary provision for the exercise in the 2014 Federal Capital budget hence the applicants were made to bear the responsibility of funding the project without approval of the Board contrary to section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000, the charge said.
Justice Chikere ordered that the former minister should be remanded in Kuje prison, Abuja, while Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia was released on administrative bail, according to Daily Trust.
The judge adjourned the case to March 2 for hearing of Mr. Abba Moro’s bail application.