(PREMIUM TIMES) –Former Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, colluded with a man, Emeka Ebila, to forge documents in order to receive N107 million from the Federal Government, an investigator of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, told an Abuja High Court.
Basil Momodu, Wednesday, told the court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, that Mr. Ebila 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.
Mr. Ogbulafor and Mr. Ebila are being prosecuted by the ICPC on a 16-count charge of alleged involvement in N170 million contract fraud.
The commission alleged that Mr. Ogbulafor, while in office as the Minister of Special Duties in 2001, colluded with Mr. Ebila to float three fictitious companies — Chekwas International Nigeria Ltd, Henrichko Nig Ltd and D.H.L. Consultants — with which they perpetrated the fraud.
Mr. Momodu, who was led in evidence by ICPC counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, told the court that Mr. Ebila used the companies to siphon N82.6 million, N11.5 million and N6.2 million respectively in 2001.
The witness also told the court that investigations by the ICPC further revealed that the companies were not genuine contractors of the Federal Government and were not being owed money.
Mr. Momodu, who told the court that he took six statements from Mr. Ebila, said that at first, the accused denied any involvement in the alleged contract scam.
“After we confronted him with the evidence we had, he opened up and admitted collecting the money and sharing same.
“He told me in the statement that the first accused (Mr. Ogbulafor) got N30 million from the deal,
A deceased director in the Ministry of Finance, Emmanuel Bossah, got N54 million.
“He also wrote in the statement that one Chief Jude Nwokolo, an associate of Ogbulafor, got N6.5 million.
“The second accused also told me in the statement that his share of the money was N4.7 million,” he said.
Mr. Momodu alleged that Mr. Ogbulafor used his position as minister, supervising the National Economic Intelligence Committee, NEIC, to make Mr. Ebila, a member of a committee verifying contractors.
I got N2m not N30m- Ogbulafor
Mr. Ogbulafor, the ICPC said, used his position as Minister of Special Duties to put Mr. Ebila on a committee set up to verify debts owed local contractors.
“When he was invited to the ICPC headquarters and confronted with the evidence we had, he wrote a statement, saying that he did not receive any money,” Mr. Momodu told the court.
However, Mr. Ogbulafor’s lie was exposed when the commission presented a “bank draft made out in his name for the sum of N2 million.”
“He asked us for some time to confirm from his bank.
“On April 24, 2006, he came back and confirmed the receipt of only N2 million and not N30 million,” the investigator said.
When Mr. Awomolo sought to tender a copy of the report prepared by NEIC with names of local and foreign contractors being owed, counsel to Mr. Ogbulafor, John Egwuonwu, raised an objection.
Mr. Egwuonwu said that the document Mr. Awomolo sought to tender was not certified and did not have any Federal Government stamp.
Following the objection, Mr. Awomolo withdrew the documents and sought for an adjournment to enable him to get it certified and stamped.
Justice Ishaq Bello adjourned further hearing to November 26.
Mr. Ogbulafor was the National Chairman of the PDP from 2008 until his forced resignation in May 2010. Before his appointment as Chairman, he served as the National Secretary of the party.