Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested two Chinese, Mr. Meng Wei Kun and Mr. Xu Koi, for offering N100 million as bribe to its Sokoto Zonal Head, Mr. Abdullahi Lawal.
EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Dele Oyewale, said in a statement yesterday that the suspects were arrested on Monday in Sokoto.
The bribe was allegedly offered in a desperate bid to compromise ongoing investigations of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited, handling contracts awarded by Zamfara State government, totalling N50 billion, between 2012 and 2019.
The zonal office of the commission is investigating the construction company, in connection with the execution of contracts for the construction of township roads in Gummi, Bukkuyun, Anka and Nassarawa towns of Zamfara State and also the construction of 168 solar-powered boreholes in the 14 local government areas of the state.
According to the statement, alarmed by the consistency and professionalism of investigation being conducted, the company reached out to Lawal with a N100 million offer to “bury” the matter.
The statement added that in a grand design to trap the Chinese, Lawal played along and on Monday, two representatives of the company – Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi offered him cash totaling N50 million in their office in Sokoto as part payment.
“The cash was offered as a first installment. The suspects were promptly arrested with the cash as evidence. Investigation of the construction company was informed by an intelligence on alleged conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, official corruption, abuse of office, stealing and money laundering obtained against Zamfara State Government through inflated and uncompleted contracts awarded to the company,” the statement said.
EFCC alleged that China Zounghao Ltd has so far received payments of over N41 billion from Zamfara State Government, out of which about N16 billion, equivalent to over $53 million, was allegedly diverted and traced to some bureau de change operators.
The agency added that the suspects would soon be charged to court.
Lawal paraded the suspects before journalists at the commission’s zonal office in Sokoto yesterday.