The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has arraigned a former director of Physical Planning, Pius Ezeokafor, in the department of architecture, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, in Anambra State, for alleged fraud and false pretence and gratification to the tune of N27 million.
In a statement signed by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwajuren on Tuesday, the agency said the accused was arraigned on a three-count charge before Justice O. A Ezeoke of the State High Court sitting in Ekwulobia, Aguata local government area of the state.
According to part of the charges, Mr Ezeokafor, who is currently a senior lecturer in the institution, committed the crime between 2011 and 2012.
“That you, Arc. Pius Ugochukwu Ezeokafor sometime between the year 2011 and 2012 at Oko, Aguata Local Government Area within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Anambra State, did commit felony to wit: with intent to defraud, obtained by false pretense the sum of N27,000,000.00 (Twenty Seven Million Naira) from one Emerson Associates Limited and Dr. Okechukwu Enemuo (being Managing Director of Emerson Associates Limited), when you represented to them that you would help them get a contract of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) upon payment of facilitation fee, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence,” one of the charges reads.
“The defendant allegedly met the petitioners on-site at the polytechnic where they were executing two construction contracts and offered to use his office as director of Physical Planning to swing a N1 billion contract for them if they would pay him an N27 million facilitation fee.”
The EFCC also explained that after the defendant received the payment, he neither facilitated the promised contract nor refunded their money.
At the resumed arraignment today, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge preferred against him by the EFCC.
In view of the plea of the defendant, the prosecuting counsel, Fortune Asemebo, asked for a trial date while the defence counsel Lucius Ogbuagu moved a motion for the bail of the defendant.
Justice Ezeoke, after hearing from both counsel, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum, who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The surety must be recommended by a legal practitioner or town union president and must show evidence of tax clearance for the past three years.
The court adjourned the matter till October 14, 21 and November 5 for trial.