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EFCC may arraign Bauchi’s PDP governor-elect today on fresh corruption charges

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has filed a corruption charge against Bauchi state governor-elect, Bala Mohammed, at an FCT High Court, Abuja.

Mr Mohammed won election on the platform Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, defeating incumbent governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who flew the All Progressives Congress, APC.

EFCC sources said barring any last minute change, the governor-elect, who is a former minister of FCT, may be arraigned on Monday.

He risks five-year jail term with hard labour if found guilty of the charges.

According to The Nation report, the charge sheet, marked CR/177/17, revealed Mr Mohammed was accused of accepting a N550million worth of house as gratification from Aso Savings & Loans Plc while serving as minister in 2014.

The property is situated on No 2599 & 2600 Cadastral Zone, AO4 Asokoro District, Abuja.

The EFCC said the alleged gratification was accepted as reward by Mohammed “for performing your official duties,” an offence contrary to Section 18 (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under Section 18 (d).

The section reads: “Any person who offers to any public officer, or being a public officer solicits, counsels or accepts any gratification as an inducement or a reward for-

(a) voting or abstaining from voting at any meeting of the public body in favour or against any measure, resolution or question submitted to the public body;

(b) performing or abstaining from performing or aiding in procuring, expediting, delaying, hindering or preventing the performance of any official act;

(c) aiding in procuring or preventing the passing of any vote or the granting of any contract, award, recognition or advantage in favour of any person; or

(d) showing or forbearing to show any favour or disfavour in his capacity as such officer, shall, notwithstanding that the officer did not have the power, right or opportunity so to do, or that the inducement or reward was not in relation to the affairs of the public body, be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to five (5) years imprisonment with hard labour.”

The commission, through its counsel, Wahab Shittu, listed the charges to include; an allegation that the governor-elect made a false statement to an EFCC investigating officer, Ishaya Dauda, that he acquired the said property through a mortgage facility from Aso Savings & Loans.

The commission also accused the former minister of not making full disclosure of his property on 54, Mike Akhigbe Street, Jabi, Abuja, while filing his asset declaration form at the EFCC, an offence it said was contrary to Section 27 (3) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (3) (b).

Under this section, “any property (a) whether real or personal, which represents the gross receipts a person obtains directly as a result of the violation of this Act or which is traceable to such gross receipts;

“(b) within Nigeria which represents the proceeds of an offence under the laws of a foreign country within whose jurisdiction such offence of activity would be punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and which would be punishable by imprisonment under this Act if such act or activity had occurred within Nigeria, is subject to forfeiture to the Federal Government and no other property right shall exist on it.”

Further to this, the commission similarly alleged the former minister failed to declare another property on Agwan Sarki Kaduna, Kaduna state, even as it said he made a false declaration that a property on CITEC Kwara House 5, AP Street, Mbora, Abuja belongs to him.

Contrary to the former minister’s claim of being the rightful owner of the property, EFCC said findings revealed one Abubakar Abdu Mohammed owns the property.

It said the governor-elect in 2014, “did use your office and position to confer corrupt and undue advantage upon your associates by allocating four numbers of fully detached duplexes and eleven numbers semi-detached duplexes valued at N314million only through the Presidential Tax Force on Sale of Government Houses to them…”

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