A former acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Chima Igwe, on Friday pleaded not guilty to three count charges including certificate forgery.
Mr Igwe was arraigned at the Ikeja Special Offences Court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
He was appointed the acting DG of the institute on May 13, 2019, and sacked in February 2020 after failing to present his PhD certificate more than 17 years after claiming to have bagged the degree, according to Punch newspaper.
He received several promotions based on the purported certificate. His alleged offence came into the limelight when his colleagues petitioned the ICPC.
According to information on the institute’s website, the 57-year-old joined as a Research Officer 1 and rose through the ranks to become the Director of Chemical Fibre and Environmental Technology Department in June 2010.
He was charged for “knowingly giving a document with false information with the intent to deceive the principle contrary to and punishable under Section 17(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Oth Related Offences Act, 2000.”
According to the charge sheet, the suspect while being a public officer with the institute intentionally submitted an attestation letter signifying the completion of PhD Degree programme from the University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Republic of Benin.
He was also accused of using his office to confer an undue advantage to himself which got him many promotions thereby upgrading him to the directorate level. An offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The suspect was charged for making a false statement to one Andrew Osove, a detective with the ICPC.
The offence is punishable under section 25(1) (a) and punishable under section 25 (1) (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000,
He pleaded not guilty to all three count charges.
The judge, Sherifat Solebo in her ruling, granted his bail application of N500,000 and two sureties with verifiable residential addresses in Lagos.
He has been remanded until he fulfils his bail conditions.
The case was adjourned until February 21 to 24, 2022.
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