Alleged N1.5B Scam: Court Remands APC Woman Leader, SUBEB Boss, 3 Others

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By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City

Edo State Woman Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Esosa Amadasun, former chairman of the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Stephen Alao and three former board members of the agency were on Thursday remanded in prison by an Edo State High Court.

The remand of the accused was sequel to objection to the bail application moved by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission ( EFCC), Ben. Ubi in a fifty count charges of contract scam case instituted against the Edo state education agency by the commission.

They were alleged to have corruptly enriched themselves with various sum of money from the bulk sale of their own share of SUBEB contracts, an offense punishable under section26 (1) and other relevant sections of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Act of 2000,

The accused who pleaded not guilty to the charges read to them by the court clerk are facing trial over the alleged N1.5 billion contract scam while in office as chairman and board members of the board respectively.

They were alleged to have committed the offenses in 2016.

The embattled former chairman, Stephen Alao and Adams Osabuohien, director of finance of the board were November 22, 2016 arrested by the anti-graft agency over their involvement in the alleged contract scam.

The presiding judge, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele who ordered the remand of the accused in prison custody, however adjourned the bail application to next week Monday.

Ovbiagele also adjourned the commencement of the main trial of the case to 26th and 27th of this month.

Earlier, counsel to the accused, Ivie Fidelis, in his bail application averred that the accused have abide by the conditions attached to the administrative bail granted them by the EFCC.

Fidelis opined that since they didn’t jump bail in the period the administrative bail lasted they would not in the same vein jump bail when granted by the court.

He averred that the various sections of the anti-graft constitution provided for bail of an accused.

The accused were alleged to have conspired among themselves to commit the offenses while serving as chairman and board members of the Edo state education agency.

In the charge sheet, Stephen Alao was alleged to have single-handedly awarded the contract sum of of N192.138million for the supply of students plastic seats and desks to one Fugard Agric. Development Co limited, a company that belong to his family.

He was also accused of awarding contracts to Geonom Associate co. limited, owned by George Angboro, his friend, Anarole-Amio Enterprises, owned by his brother-in-law, Joseph Nandom, Bagudu Nigeria Enterprises, Julie Omonigho Nigeria Enterprises, J. Eenel Nigeria Enterprises, Osadebawen Nigeria Enterprises for pecuniary gains as well as demanded for the sum of N22million from one Lawrence Nyamali for the bulk sale of his own share of contracts.

The APC, woman leader, Esosa Amadasun was alleged to have received the sum of N2.5million from one Chinedu Abiazia, N4.5million from Goldust Complex limited, N2 million from Odam Global Integrated Services among others from different contractors as bulk sale of his shares of contracts awarded to them.