Chief Vincent Ogbulafor
Tobi Soniyi in Abujaâ€¨
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has concluded its cross-examination of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Vincent Ogbulafor.
The former Minister of Special Duties under the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, was charged with a 17-count of conspiracy and award of fictitious contracts involving the sum of N107 million.
Charged alongside Ogbulafor, is Mr. Emeka Ebilah, who was secretary of the National Economic Intelligence Council (NEIC) when he was minister.
At the hearing of the case before an Abuja High Court yesterday, Ogbulafor reiterated his earlier statement that Ebila (the 2nd accused person), gave him a cheque of N2 million, as donation for his (Ogbulafor’s) campaign for the position of national secretary of PDP.
He further told the court that apart from Ebilah, many others made donations in furtherance of the campaign including vehicles and other items.
Responding to the prosecution counsel, Marcus Abu’s question on whether at any material time, the president directed him to “reconstitute the debt committee of NEIC”, Ogbulafor answered in the affirmative.
On the allegation that one Chris Nwoke paid some money into his personal account, as a form of gratification or bribe, Ogbulafor said “nobody paid money into my account.”
The former national chairman of the ruling party said he made the telephone number of Nwoke, as well as his address in London, the United Kingdom (UK), available to the anti-corruption commission.
Concluding on his relationship with the 2nd accused, Ogbulafor said though, they were both indigenes of Abia State, he appointed Ebila to serve as secretary of NEIC, to ensure regional balancing, by virtue of the fact that the chairman of the committee was of northern extraction.
Justice Ishaq Bello adjourned the case till July 15, to enable counsel to second accused, Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN), open his client’s defence.
The offence allegedly committed by Ogbulafor, is contrary to and punishable under Section 19 ICPC Act 2000.
Ogbulafor’s earlier attempt to quash the charges via a “no-case submission” failed, as the court held that the prosecution was able to establish a prima facie case against him, to warrant his being put to trial.