Update: Ex-PDP Chairman, Ogbulafor, to open defence on N170mn corruption charge in April

Mr. Ogulafor had attempted to wriggle his way out of a 17-count charge brought against him by the ICPC.

Attempts by the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, to stop the corruption charges brought against him has failed, as an Abuja High Court on Tuesday dismissed the `no case submission’ he filed.

Mr. Ogbulafor, seeking to quash a 17-count corruption charge, filed a no case submission, arguing before the court that the prosecutor, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, did not have sufficient evidence to warrant the trial.

On Tuesday, however, Justice Ishaq Bello, in his ruling held that the prosecution established a prima facie case against the accused to warrant the trial.

Mr. Bello said, “it is my considered view that on the totality of the evidence, the prosecution established a prima facie case to warrant the accused open his defence.

“The no case submission failed and is accordingly dismissed,” the judge said.

Mr. Bello ordered the accused persons to bring all their witnesses on the next adjourned dated.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, filed a 17-count charge against Mr. Ogbulafor, Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokoro.

The anti-graft body alleged that they awarded fictitious contracts amounting to N107 million contrary Section 19 of the ICPC Act 2000.

Part of the 17-count charge reads, “that you Vincent Ogbulafor (M) and Emeka Ebilah (M) in the month of March 2001, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the FCT High Court, being public officers, to wit; Minister In Charge of Special Duties and Secretary/Member of the National Economic Intelligence Council (NEIC) respectively, did use your positions to confer corrupt advantage upon yourselves the sum of N82, 631, 03. 41 from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the name of a company HENCHRIKO NIG. LTD as payment for non-existence contract purportedly executed for the Federal Government… and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.”

The second accused person skipped court proceeding aggravating the presiding justice who threatened to revoke the bail granted him.

Justice Bello then adjourned the case to April 15, for Mr. Ogbulafor to open his defence.

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