ICPC granted leave to assemble witnesses against Ogbulafor
Justice Ishaq Bello of an Abuja High Court has granted the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission leave to assemble materials and witnesses in the suit against Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, a former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party.
Ogbulafor, Jude Nwokolo, Henry Ikoh and Emeka Emmanuel are being prosecuted by the ICPC on 16 counts of alleged involvement in N170m fraud.
The ICPC alleged that Ogbulafor, while in office as the Minister of State for Special Duties in 2001, connived with the others to float three fictitious companies, with which they perpetrated the fraud.
They were alleged to have used Henrichiko Nig. Ltd, DHL Consultants and Chekwas Industries, to siphon N82.6m, N11.5m and N6.2m, respectively, in 2001.
Ogbulafor was specifically alleged to have used 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.
He was alleged to have relied on the forged documents to certify that the three fake companies successfully executed jobs worth N104m.
He was also alleged to have collected kickbacks of N2m and N28m from Ebiulah and one Chris Nwoke respectively.
Justice Bello had, on January 4, 2011, adjourned indefinitely further hearing in the criminal case against Ogbulafor.
The adjournment followed an application filed by the ICPC’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, asking for a stay of proceedings in the case pending the determination of a motion he filed at the Court of Appeal.
The ICPC was challenging Bello’s ruling which granted Ogbulafor’s application for severance of trial delivered on December 14, 2010.
At the resumed hearing of the case 16 months after, Bello granted the permission to the ICPC to appear on July 11 and 12 for continuation of the trial.
Earlier, EFCC counsel, Awomolo told the court that following the dismissal of the case filed by the ICPC at the Court of Appeal challenging the severance of Ogbulafor to stand trial alone, the commission was ready to go on.