The South-South Zonal Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ishaq Salihu, has told a Port Harcourt High Court, how a former director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Robert Akunne Obuoha, offered him a bribe of N150, 000 in order to compromise an ongoing investigation by the commission.
He gave details of the bribe offer before Justice S.C. Amadi, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, O.B. Akinsola.
Obuoha, a former director, Projects Management of the NDDC, is being prosecuted in a case of contract splitting and over-inflation of contracts.
At the resumed hearing of the case, the EFCC presented its last witness, Salihu, who told the court that, “on February 12, 2016, the defendant came to my office where he told me that he wanted to see me in private, 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, 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,” Salihu explained.
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.”
After listening to both parties in the matter, Justice Amadi adjourned the case to July 13, 2017, for the defence counsel to open its case.
The charge against him reads: “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, only to Mr. Ishaq Salihu, a public officer and zonal head of operations, Economic 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.”
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