Sunday, September 16, 2012

bori’s $15m bribery scandal: Achigbu granted bail


Chibuike Achigbu

A businessman, Mr. Chibuike Achigbu, who was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday over the alleged Chief James Ibori’s $15million bribery scandal has been granted administrative bail.
The bribery was said to have been offered to the pioneer chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu by Ibori when he was governor of Delta State, in order to escape prosecution.
But Ribadu reportedly rejected the bribe.
The Federal Government and Delta State Government are currently engaged in a legal battle for the  possession of the cash.
A source in EFCC told SUNDAY PUNCHthat Achigbu had been granted bail after fulfilling his bail conditions.
“He perfected his bail this morning (yesterday) but it does not mean that he is off the hook. He still has a case to answer because investigation continues,” the source said.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren confirmed that Achigbu had been granted bail.
Achigbu was arrested on Thursday in Lagos and transferred to the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja where he was said to have made useful statements to EFCC operatives that would assist them in further investigation.
The businessman had on August 29, 2012, filed an application before an Abuja Federal High Court to claim the $15m, which had been in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria as unclaimed property since 2007.
He had claimed that, rather than  being a bribe from Ibori, the sum was actually monetary donations pulled together by a group of unnamed businessmen to fund the campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2007.
Although Achigbu had in the withdrawn application said that a serving senator offered to depose to his claim to the $15m on oath before the court, but the senator denied the claims and distanced himself from the suit.
An Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court had ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, to conduct an  investigation on Achigbu and the said senator over the money.
The order was made by Chief Magistrate Okagu based on a Direct Criminal Complaint filed in the court by a legal practitioner, Keyamo against those suspected in the $15m bribery.
The court ordered the IGP to report back to it with his findings on September 26, 2012.
Keyamo had written to the IGP, forwarding the Certified True Copy of the court order for his attention and necessary action.
The matter will come up for hearing on September 17, 2012, when Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja, will determine a motion in which the Federal Government applied for the final forfeiture of the money to it.

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