Siemens Bribery Scandal: Appeal Court Discharges, Acquits Momife
Tobi Soniyi The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has discharged and acquitted a former Chief Executive Officer of M-Tel, Edwin Moore Momife, who was charged with three others for allegedly receiving bribes from a multi-national German firm, Siemens Limited.
In a unanimous decision, the court held that Momife had no case to answer and that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should not have put him on trial because no offence known to law was committed.
Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson who read the court judgment, noted that the Siemens officials Momife was said to have conspired with were not charged and were also not at large.
In the circumstances, the court held that the accused person could not have conspired with himself.
The court also held that even though the accused admitted receiving flight tickets from Siemens, there was no relationship, business otherwise, between Siemens and the accused, and therefore the offence of receiving bribe without value consideration was not sustainable. Consequently, Momife was cleared of all wrongdoings while the judgment of Danlami Senchi of an Abuja a High Court which had earlier held that the accused had a case to answer was set aside.
Momife was charged with a former Director of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN), Maigada Shuaibu, an ex-General Manager of Finance in NITEL, Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Ossai, and a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel, Mahmood Sadiq Mohammed before an Abuja high court sitting at Wuse Zone 2, for allegedly receiving bribes from Siemens Limited. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail on self recognition by Justice Danlami Senchi.
In the 16-count amended charge filed against them by the EFCC, the four accused persons were alleged to have received for themselves and their family members, air tickets to attend FIFA World Cup in Germany, in addition to receiving frequent sponsored trips to Germany for medical check-ups.
They all denied committing any offence. The anti-graft agency alleged that the company made an arrangement with a hospital at Stiftung Deutsche Klinik Fuer Diagnostik Gmbh, International Patientenservice, Aukammalle 33, 65191, Wiesbaden, Germany, where it said both the accused persons and their relations visited frequently between 2002 and 2006.
The offences they allegedly committed were said to have contravened section 96 of the Penal Code Cap 532 LFN (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 119 of the same Code.
Before then, government had withdrawn charges filed against Siemens AG, its subsidiary in Nigeria and four of its principal staff involved in the bribery scandal.
The case against the company was withdrawn after it agreed to pay fine of N7 billion to the federal government.