Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja, Thursday convicted and sentenced former directors of the Rural Electricity Agency, REA, to various jail terms for their culpability in aN5.2bn scam. The convicts include Engr. Samuel Ibi, former managing director, REA; Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, former permanent secretary of the ministry of power; Simon Kirdi Nanle, an accountant in REA; Engr. Kayode Orekoya, director of projects; Abdusamad Garba Hahun, assistant director, and Kayode Oyedeji, head of legal department.
They were charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for criminal breach of trust in fraudulently awarding contract for Grid Extension and Solar Electricity from the amended 2008 budget of the REA.
They also allegedly fraudulently facilitated the withdrawal of the sum of N119.7million from the account of the agency domiciled in Central Bank of Nigeria.
In the course of trial, the prosecution led by Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, called 7 witnesses before closing its case. Rather than open its defence, the defendants through Paul Ewekoro, SAN, made a no-case submission which was overruled by the court and thereafter were called upon to open their defences.
The 1st-3rd defendants rested their cases on that of the prosecution. The 4th – 6th defendants testified in person. Final addresses were filed, exchanged and adopted. Upon adoption of the respective final addresses by the prosecution and the defendants, the court adjourned to February 8, 2018, for judgment.
The court in a well-considered judgement, Thursday, dismissed the 1st defendant’s (Gekpe) application challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge. On the substantive charge, the court found that the prosecution had established by evidence all ingredients of the offences against the defendants.
The defendants were accordingly convicted and sentenced as follows: 1st defendant sentenced to 3yrs imprisonment with an option of N5million fine; the 3rd – 6th defendants sentenced to 3yrs imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine each, payable within 30 days.
— Wilson Uwujaren, head, media & publicity, EFCC