By Kingsley Nwezeh
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a former Minister of State for Power, Mr. Muhammed Wakil, before Justice S.B. Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja, on a two counts charge of corruption and abuse of office.
The EFCC said that Wakil was arraigned alongside two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving N148, million as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27.188 billion approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Count one of the charges reads: “That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and on or about 22nd December, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118,000,000.00 only through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27,188,232,208.20 only being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act.”
Wakil pleaded not guilty to the charges that were read to him.
Counsel for the prosecution, Mr. Benjamin Manji, asked the court to set a date for commencement of trial and remand the defendant at a Correctional Centre, pending trial.
But the counsel for the defendants, B.C Igwilo (SAN), prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant. “My lord, our humble application is for the first defendant to be admitted to bail,” he said.
But the prosecution counsel opposed the oral application while urging the court to order the defendant to file the application formally.
Justice Belgore adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021 for determination of bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.