N107m fraud case: I collected N2m as campaign donation – Ogbuluafor

By The Rainbow

FORMER Chairman of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Vincent Ogbulafor, has Thursday admitted collecting N2 million from Emeka Ebilah.

But he clarified that the money was a campaign donation which was given to him when he was contesting for the post of the National Secretary of the PDP.

Ebilah is his co-accused person in a case filed against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

Ogbulafor later became the national chairman of Nigeria's ruling party.

The ICPC is prosecuting Ogbulafor, who is also a former Minister of Special Duties; and two others: Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokoro, on a 17-count charge of conspiracy and award of fictitious contracts valued N107 million.

The offence if proven contravenes Section 19 of the ICPC Act, 2000.

The crime: An ICPC investigator had in November 2012 told the court that Ogbulafor, colluded with Ebilah, to forge documents in order to receive N107 million from the Federal Government.

Basil Momodu told the court in November last year that Ebilah forged documents certifying that three fake companies executed contracts worth N107 million.

The ICPC investigator, a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Ogbulafor, told the court that the fake companies were included in the list of contractors being owed money by the Federal Government.

The commission alleged that Ogbulafor, while in office as the Minister of Special Duties in 2001, colluded with Ebilah to float three fictitious companies - Chekwas International Nigeria Ltd, Henrichko Nig Ltd and D.H.L. Consultants - with which they perpetrated the fraud.

Ogbulafor's testimony: On Thursday, Ogbulafor told the Abuja High Court, when he was cross-examined by ICPC Counsel, Marcus Abu, that the N2 million was given to him after his tenure as Minister of Special Duties.

He said Ebilah gave him the money as contribution to Ogbulafor's campaign as National Secretary of PDP.

The former PDP national chairman also admitted recommending Ebilah as a member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee, NEIC, in July 2010. He, however, denied appointing Ebilah as the secretary of the committee after its reconstitution.

Ogbulafor told the court that he was directed to reconstitute NEIC by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in July 2001.

He further admitted knowing one Chris Nwoke, who lived in the United States of America and that he did not know if he was the same person the investigating officer was talking about.

He said that he gave them the telephone number of Mr. Nwoke and his home address in Nigeria.

Earlier, Ogbulafor's no case submission was dismissed by the court.

Justice Ishaq Bello held that the prosecution established a prima facie case against the accused to warrant the trial.

The court adjourned the case to July 15, for continuation of cross-examination.