Saturday, June 3, 2017 1:46 pm
The South-South Zonal Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ishaq Salihu, on Thursday told a Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, that a former Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Robert Akunne Obuoha, offered him a bribe of N150, 000.00 in order to compromise an ongoing investigation by the EFCC.
He stated this before Justice S.C. Amadi, while being led in evidence by the EFCC’s counsel, O.B. Akinsola( Mrs). Obuoha, a former director in the Project Management of the NDDC, is being investigated in a case of contract splitting and over-inflation of contract.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the EFCC presented its last prosecution witness, Mr. Ishaq Salihu, who told the court that, “on February 12, 2016, the defendant came to my office where he asked me that he wanted to see me in private and all alone, and I asked him, why? I categorically told him that it was not possible and that, whatever he wished to see me about, should be discussed in the presence of the investigators.
There upon, he dipped his hand into his pocket and brought out a sum of N150, 000.00, made up of three bundles of N50, 000.00 of N500 denomination each and offered them to me. I asked him what the money was meant for; the defendant said I should use it to buy recharge cards and also to establish a relationship with me. This prompted the Commission to investigate the matter and file a charge against the defendant’’.
Defense counsel, Chief Sam Nwadigha asked Salihu whether he had any personal dealings with the defendant “before February 12, 2016?’’ and he responded “Yes and No.” “Yes, because he came to the EFCC to write a statement over an ongoing investigation in which his name featured, and he was allowed to go and bring in a surety because of the volume of money involved.
“As a staff of NDDC, he was asked to go and bring a reliable surety”. Obuoha, had in his confessional statement, admitted that he offered Salihu the said money “for him to buy recharge cards in order to build a good relationship with him”.
Justice Amadi adjourned the case to 13 July, 2017 for the defence counsel to open its case.
The only one count charge against him read: “that you, Robert Akunne Obuoha on or about the 12th day of February, 2016 at Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Judicial Division did corruptly give N150, 000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only to Mr. Ishaq Salihu a public officer and Zonal Head of Operations, Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, South-South zone, Port Harcourt for the purpose of ‘’recharge cards’’ and with a view to influence his decision in a case wherein you are being investigated and thereby committed an offence, Official Corruption contrary to Section 13 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003 and Punishable under section 13 (1) of the same Act”.