N107mn fraud: Ex-PDP Chairman, Ogbulafor, admits collecting N2m from co-accused

Mr. Ogbulafor admits complicity in corruption charges laid against him by the ICPC.

A Former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, on Thursday admitted collecting N 2 million from Emeka Ebilah, a co-accused person in a case file against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.

Mr. Ogbulafor, however, said the money was meant for his campaign to be the ruling party’s National Secretary, a post he held till he became the national chairman of Nigeria’s ruling party.

The ICPC is prosecuting Mr. Ogbulafor, who is also a former Minister of Special Duties; and two others: Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokoro, on a 17-count charge of conspiracy and award of fictitious contracts valued N107 million.

The offence if proven contravenes Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The crime

An ICPC investigator had n November 2012 told the court that Mr. Ogbulafor, colluded with Mr. Ebilah, to forge documents in order to receive N107 million from the Federal Government.

Basil Momodu, told the court in November last year that Mr. Ebilah forged documents certifying that three fake companies executed contracts worth N107 million.

The ICPC investigator, a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Mr. Ogbulafor, told the court that the fake companies were included in the list of contractors being owed money by the Federal Government.

The commission alleged that Mr. Ogbulafor, while in office as the Minister of Special Duties in 2001, colluded with Mr. Ebilah to float three fictitious companies — Chekwas International Nigeria Ltd, Henrichko Nig Ltd and D.H.L. Consultants — with which they perpetrated the fraud.

Ogbulafor’s testimony

On Thursday, Mr. Ogbulafor told the Abuja High Court, when he was cross-examined by ICPC Counsel, Marcus Abu, that the N2 million was given to him after his tenure as Minister of Special Duties.

He said Mr. Ebilah gave him the money as contribution to Mr. Ogbulafor’s campaign as National Secretary of PDP.

The former PDP National chairman also admitted recommending Mr. Ebilah as a member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee, NEIC, in July 2010. He, however, denied appointing Mr. Ebilah as the secretary of the committee after its reconstitution.

Mr. Ogbulafor told the court that he was directed to reconstitute NEIC by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in July 2001.

He further admitted knowing one Chris Nwoke, who lived in the United States of America and that he did not know if he was the same person the investigating officer was talking about.

He said that he gave them the telephone number of Mr. Nwoke and his home address in Nigeria.

Earlier, Mr. Ogbulafor’s no case submission was dismissed by the court.

Justice Ishaq Bello held that the prosecution established a prima facie case against the accused to warrant the trial.

The court adjourned the case to July 15, for continuation of cross examination.


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