Home » Headlines » N13bn scam: Ex-gov, others have case to answer – Court

N13bn scam: Ex-gov, others have case to answer – Court

A Federal High Court sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State, on Wednesday, held that former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and 10 others have a case to answer on the alleged N13 billion scam in the state.

Justice Dan Abutu also ruled that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the case instituted against the accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged looting of unexecuted contract funds.

The judge, while ruling on a no-case application brought by the accused further held that Ukachwukwu and 11 others, including four companies belonging to him, had a prima facie case established against them by the prosecution and must answer to the 171-count charge.

In his over two hours ruling, Abutu stated that documents before him indicated that Ukachukwu and the other accused company directors actively participated in the negotiation and signing of the alleged deals for which they were arraigned.
Abutu, also declared that his court was competent to adjudicate on the matter, adding that it would be unfair to acquit the accused on the grounds that their companies which benefited from the contracts were legal entities on their own, and  insisted that they must face trial to determine their “guilt or innocence”.

“A compendium of documents before the court showed that the affected directors actually negotiated and entered into the agreements which have brought about the charge. It will, therefore, be unfair at this stage to acquaint them. The accused are therefore directed to stand trial to either prove their innocence or confirm their guilt,” Justice Abutu stated.

He faulted the earlier submissions of one of the defence counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, that the accused was only a director of the companies and should not be tried for the companies’ business transactions.

While admitting that limited liability companies are legal persons in law, Justice Abutu stated that however in criminal matters, “the veil on incorporation is lifted” to enable directors to face trial.

Citing various Supreme Court judgements to support his ruling, the trial judge noted that although Nasarawa State was one of the states of the federation, both the federal government and each of the states collaborate in a bid to eradicate corruption, adding that the EFCC as a federal agency was statutorily empowered to investigate and arraign the accused.

In the charge sheet no FHC/LF/CR/8/2010, Ukachukwu was alleged to have collected various sums of money from the Nasarawa State government for contracts which he failed to execute.

The anti-graft agency in a 171-count charge preferred against the accused/applicant and 12 others, Ukachukwu and his companies namely Prince and Princess Properties Limited, Nick Associates Company, SNECOU, RIOK Industries and NICCUS Industries  alone were alleged to have collected over N5.6billion from the coffers of the Nsasarawa State government for contracts which they did not execute.

-Guardian

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Posted by on Jan 19 2011. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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