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How anti-graft crusaders embezzled N4.5m corruption campaign money

CONSTITUENCY PROJECT SCAM: Court orders interim forfeiture of N116m

A High Court in Abuja has been told of how two top shots of the Federal Ministry of Works, who were working in the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of the ministry, connived to embezzle funds meant to campaign against corruption.

The two top shot, Mr. Mohammed Musa Abimiku and Mr. Micah Paman,until their predicament, were deputy director and assistant director in the ministry.

They were accused of embezzling N4.5m belonging to the ministry and meant to prosecute an anti-corruption campaign but using their personal accounts to move the funds and procuring fake receipts to retire same.

The two were arraigned before Justice A. O. Adeniyi of FCT High Court 20, Apo, Abuja, on a 10-count charge bordering on using their offices to corruptly enrich themselves.

Counsel to ICPC, Ekoi Akponimisingha, told the court that their actions contravene Sections 16, 19, 25(1) (a) &(b),26(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and Sections 311 and 312 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under the same laws.

The counts disclose that Mr. Abimiku as head of Special Duties of the Ministry received N5 million meant for the celebration of the World Anti-corruption Day in 2014, through his Diamond Bank account, and diverted N4.5 million out of the money to his personal use and in conspiracy with Mr. Paman, made false retirement claims.

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The two defendants were charged for conspiracy in counts 1 and 4. Part of count 1 reads: “That you Mohammed Musa Abimiku and Alexander Micah Paman; officers in the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja; in the month of April, 2016 in Abuja, conspired amongst yourselves to make false statements to the officers of ICPC, in the course of their official duties that the total sum of N4.5 million out of N5 million approved by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja and paid into the personal Diamond Bank Account No. 0012771588 of Mohammed Musa Abimiku on the 4th of November, 2014 for the observance of the 9th day of December 2014 International Anti-Corruption Day by the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of the Ministry and its Parastatals was expended for that purpose, statements you knew to be false; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1) (c) and punishable under Section 25(1) (a) & (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Count 4 reads; “That you Mohammed Musa Abimiku and Alexander Micah Paman, officers in the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja: in the month of December or thereabout in Abuja, conspired amongst yourselves to knowingly furnish false return of retirement claims in respect of the total sum of N4.5 million out of N5 million approved by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja and paid into the personal Diamond Bank Account No. 0012771588 of Mohammed Musa Abimiku on the 4th of November, 2014 for the observance of the 9th day of December 2014 International Anti-Corruption Day by the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of the Ministry and its Parastatals, that the said sum was expended for that purpose, when in fact it was not; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 16 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. ”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were read to them in open court.

The ICPC counsel, Akponimisingha asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the trial, while the Defence counsel, P.I. Lemut, made an oral application for bail for his clients saying that they had been on administrative bail and had kept to the terms and conditions of the bail.

The trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each with a surety in like sum, who must not be less than an Assistant Director in the Civil Service of the Federation or FCT, and resident in Abuja.

Their trial resumes on February 26, 2018.

By Femi Qudus…

 

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