Court acquits ex-PDP National Chairman, Ogbulafor, of corruption charges

A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, was on Thursday discharged and acquitted of a 17-count charge of corruption by an Abuja High Court

However, Emeka Ebila, a former Secretary of the National Economic Intelligence Committee, NEIC, who was accused alongside Mr. Ogbulafor, was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.

He was found guilty of all the charges brought against him.

The court had on Tuesday issued a bench warrant for Mr. Ebila’s arrest for refusing to appear before it. However, the accused appeared in court on Thursday on a wheel chair, an indication that he was not well.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, had arraigned Messrs. Ogbulafor and Ebila on May 10, 2010 before the court over allegation of conspiring with others to float three fictitious companies which they used for fraudulent activities.

They were accused of using Henrichiko Nigeria Limited, DHL Consultants and Chekwas Industries to fraudulently obtain N82.6 million, N11.5 million and N6.2 million in 2001.

Mr. Ogbulafor was specifically accused of using his position as the head of the National Economic Intelligence Committee, set up to verify debts owed local contractors, to okay as genuine, several forged documents.

The former PDP chairman was accused of relying on forged documents to certify that the three fake companies successfully executed jobs worth N104 million. He was also alleged to have collected N2 million and N28 million kickbacks from Mr. Ebilah.

The offences contravened Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Mr. Ogbulafor, who was serving as Minister of Special Duties at the time the offence was committed, was however believed to be facing political persecution.

He had reportedly said a northerner should replace the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. As chairman, he had led the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling party to suspend members of the 19 chieftains of the Reformation Group in the ruling party, for anti-party activities.

The suspended members, which included two former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and Ken Nnamani as well as a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari were believed to be working for Mr. Jonathan to get the NWC and PDP governors to change their earlier position barring the then acting president from contesting for president in the 2011 election.

Justice Ishaq Bello, while delivering judgement on the suit said the linking of Mr. Ogbulafor, who ministry was supervising NEIC, to the matter was not wrong.

According to him, going by Mr. Ebila’s confession, it was evident that he did not conspire with the former PDP chairman.

He noted that the prosecution could not prove the ingredients of conspiracy.

“It is clear from the evidence that the first accused person was not given any money, even the second accused in his evidence stated that he did not give the first accused any money,” Mr. Bello said.

“Prosecution did not tender any bank account showing lodgement of any money to the benefit of the first accused. The only money given by the second accused person to the first accused person was N2 million and that was after the first accused had left office as a public servant.

“From the evidence, the second accused person is the mastermind of all the allegations on which this charge is predicated. I did not see any conspiracy as alleged by the prosecution on the first accused person.

“The prosecution has failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt against the first accused person, he is hereby discharged of all the charges. Whereas the second accused person is hereby found guilty of all the charges against him. He is therefore guilty as charged.”

Although, counsel to Mr. Ebila had asked the court to be lenient with his client because of his medical challenge, Mr. Bello noted that Section 19 of the ICPC Act under which the accused was charged did not give room for variation and hence, he was not ready to deviate from it.

He said, “The situation does not call for sympathy, I can only recommend maximum health care for the the convict by the authority of the prison.

“The convict is hereby sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine. Other penalties connected will also be paid concurrently,”the judge held.


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  • Tom-Lawyer

    THANK YOU, JUSTICE ISHAQ BELLO,

    This is the best judgement in recent times by Nigerian Judiciary. For the first time i am proud to be a Nigerian citizen.
    I will share this Premium Times news-report with my friends overseas who’d written Nigeria off as a totally failed state.
    This is what a proper judiciary should look like, rather than the stained image of it given by several other Judges –
    including the Judge beaten into pulp in Ekiti state for wrongfully abridging Ayo Fayose’s time to file a defence, and,
    the other one (Judge Buba) who’d declared that Lagos House Speaker is right to disburse 513m Naira, variously,
    and without any banking transaction despite the prohibition of such act by Nigeria’s money-laundering laws.

    • Stanley Amaechi

      @ Tom-Lawyer:

      Yes, the reasons given for sentencing the corrupt man to 5 years in prison are impressive.
      Justice Ishaq Bello refused to be swayed by the wheel-chair bearing the accused man to court.

      • Okey

        False. This is the worst judgment from the Nigerian courts in recent time. That a not-equally privileged Nigerian who was engaged by Ogbulafor to help him in an act was the only one found guilty in the circumstance should trouble the conscience of the living. Politics in Nigeria has become judicialised and judicialised scape-goating. Emeka Ebila was signed – posted by this character of a judge to free Ogbulafor and to create the impression that the judiciary is not actually dead in Nigeria. Which very unfortunate.

    • Ol’boy

      “There cannot be peace and harmony where there is wide disparity between the few rich
      and multitude of the poor. Our society and economy are in tatters in a highly competitive world.

      Our children are missing out in getting qualitative and functional education.”

      “The masses of our people are chained down in dehumanizing and grinding poverty
      while we continue to maintain a few islands of false prosperity in a turbulent
      ocean of penury and squalor.”

      …………………General T.Y Danjuma

      (May 24th, 2014)

    • Okey

      tom-tom boy, keep quiet. This is the worst judgment from the Nigerian courts in recent time. That a not-equally privileged Nigerian who was engaged by Ogbulafor to help him in an act was the only one found guilty in the circumstance should trouble the conscience of the living. Politics in Nigeria has become judicialised and judicialised scape-goating. Emeka Ebila was signed – posted by this character of a judge to free Ogbulafor and to create the impression that the judiciary is not actually dead in Nigeria. Which very unfortunate.

  • Comfortkay

    Taking any PDP man to court is a waste of time and resources. He will be free . PDP has turned Nigeria to corruption Unlimited.

  • Shawn

    Femi has always been good with the bible but getting himself involved with political write ups is just his undoing. Know your calling please

    • favourtalk

      He should know his calling, he’s too good with this not in politics

  • Amir

    Satanic verses and adulterated interpretations! Dr Hate Preacher’s heart is in Egypt while his body has been forced into Jerusalem. The man’s life revolves around jealousy on achievers.

  • Romberg

    Must people comment on everything? Even when it doesn’t make sense, they abuse. I can’t find fault in this piece. The author maybe a character, considering his ideology and political views, however this piece is the best truth I have read from him for decades. Perhaps if you don’t link him, just read the message, don’t let the devil use you against God’s sheep who might find the message inspiring.

  • David Efanga

    I see this as an extremely bold, courageous and patriotic opinion aimed at enshrining and ensuring dividends of democracy is received by the good people of Imo state of Nigeria. At some point, someone has to say it the way it is, and say it loud like the lonely voice crying in the wilderness on behalf of his people. Thank you Charles for being this voice. Words like these should elicit deep and sober reflection and inspire a change to responsible, accountable and acceptable quality of leadership.

  • naubiko

    I will not discard the message on this one. He’s 100% correct. This is the problem with Nigeria. You worship God and Mammon. In Nigeria we steal and do spiritual money Laundering with our Nigerian Pastors taking the 10% on behalf of God. Honestly, this is why our churches are filled with Wolves devouring lost sheep.

  • Egbu Yugo

    On point on this one, Femi

  • favourtalk

    This is good but pls sir don’t go into politics again, it doesn’t speak well of you with those lies cooked up in your political write up.