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ICPC arraigns UniCal dean over alleged N20.6m fraud

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has charged a dean in the University of Calabar, Prof. Francisca Ime Bassey, to court over her alleged involvement in a contract fraud of N20.6 million.

The Dean, who is also the Director of the Pre-Degree Programme of the university, was arraigned on Wednesday at the Cross River State High Court Six in Calabar, by ICPC for allegedly holding private interests in multiple contracts awarded by the school to four of her companies.

The Commission, in a 10-counts charge filed before Justice Elias O. Abua, stated that the alleged crime happened between 2013 and 2017 and violated Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

ICPC in the charge sheet argued that Prof. Bassey at different times benefited from a series of contracts totalling N20,679,324.63, awarded to Bakuf Ventures, Rivet Investment Nigeria Ltd, Joebas Enterprises, and Arumo Nigeria Ltd.

It was discovered that contracts amounting to N7,819,916.24 were allegedly awarded to Bakuf Ventures on four occasions between 2013 and 2017, while other contracts worth N4.7 million were awarded to Rivet Investment Nigeria Ltd between 2013 and 2015.

Read also: Court charges ICPC to ensure thorough prosecution of ex-JAMB boss, Ojerinde

Also, the dean was accused of using two of her companies, Joebas Enterprises and Arumo Nigeria Ltd to commit multiple contract frauds, benefitting from the N5,736,797.84 worth of contracts awarded to Arumo Nigeria Ltd and N2,450,700 awarded to Joebas Enterprises within the same period.

However, Bassey entered a not-guilty plea when the charge was read to her, as her counsel, Barrister Joseph Oloku, filed a bail application praying the court to admit her to bail on self-recognizance.

The bail was opposed by counsel to ICPC, Kioba Kio Anabraba, who prayed the court to grant her bail on terms that would make her attend her trials.

The presiding judge granted her bail in the sum of N5 million with one surety in like sum, insisting that the surety must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, while the matter was adjourned to October 11 and 12, 2021 for trial.

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