A director in the Federal Ministry of Education, Victor Igboanugo, has been arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for purchasing a property worth $140,000 in the United States of America and taking kickbacks worth millions of naira.
During his arraignment before Justice V. B. Ashi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja, Igboanugo was accused of using his office and position to also commit fraud worth N162m.
The ICPC told the court that the accused, while acting as the Deputy Director of Procurement at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, bought the property in the US, whose cost was above his legitimate income.
The commission, in a statement by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said, “The accused is being arraigned for alleged contract fraud to the tune of N162m and ownership of a property valued way above his legitimate income.
“Mr Igboanugo, who had worked at various times in the ministries of Environment and Niger Delta Affairs, is facing 17 counts before Justice Ashi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 23, Apo, Abuja.”
The commission also accused Igboanugo of abuse of office and conferring undue advantage upon himself, saying the alleged crimes contravened sections 10, 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and were punishable under the same sections.
The counsel for the ICPC, Henry Emore, told the court that Igboanugo, while being the Secretary of the Ministerial Tenders’ Board at the Ministry of Environment, facilitated the award of multiple contracts to private companies where he held personal interests.
“He was further accused of receiving N20m kickback through one of his companies, Phinavic Ventures Limited, from the Chief Executive Officer of Lufem Engineering Limited, Mr Asiwaju Adekanbi, after the award of a contract for the construction of a skills acquisition centre.
The charges read in part, “That you, Victor Igboanugo, sometime in October 2008 or thereabout in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, while being a public officer, used your position as Deputy Director and Secretary of the Ministerial Tenders’ Board of the Federal Ministry of Environment to confer corrupt advantage upon yourself by awarding a contract for the construction of a three-bedroom semi-detached bungalow at the Prototype Housing Scheme, Asaba, Delta State, to your company, Echedom Technical & Trading Company Limited for a contract sum of N10.5m, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
After the defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charges, the defence counsel put in an application for bail, which was not opposed by the ICPC counsel.
The application was granted by Justice Ashi in the sum of N2m with one surety in like sum, who must be an officer not below Grade Level 14 in the Federal Civil Service.
The case was adjourned till June 19, 2019, for trial.
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