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$12m fraud: EFCC probes ex Gov Elechi, arrests ex commissioner

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$12m fraud: EFCC probes ex Gov Elechi, arrests ex commissioner

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested a former Ebonyi State Commissioner of Public Utilities, Mr. Benjamin Okah.

The arrest is in connection with an alleged $12m contract fraud under under the administration of former Governor Martin Elechi.

Elechi is alleged to have fraudulently awarded the contract in 2012 to an American company, Califco Group.

The anti-graft agency had earlier in the year invited Elechi and his son, Nnanna, for interrogation after it received petitions from the state government.

According to a statement by EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, Elechi’s government paid $10.8m to the firm in 2012 as mobilisation fee but the project was abandoned. It also alleged that Okah received N83m bribe from the company.

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The statement read: “The EFCC on Monday arrested a former Commissioner for Public Utilities in Ebonyi State, Benjamin Okah, for alleged abuse of office and collecting gratification to the tune of N83m.

“The arrest was sequel to a petition by the Ebonyi State Government over a $12m contract to a US-based company, Califco Group, that had been abandoned since 2012, despite a mobilisation of $10.8m already paid by Ebonyi State Government into the accounts of the said company.

“Investigation has revealed that both the Abuja and Ebonyi State addresses of the said company are fictitious. In the course of investigation, it was discovered that the former commissioner allegedly collected gratification from the company in the sum of N83m between July 30, 2012 and December 30, 2014, through his companies: Global Victory Allied Company and Mahco Mega Nigeria Limited”.

By Timothy Enietan-Matthews

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