By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded the immediate past Minister of Interior, Abba Moro in Prison custody over his alleged complicity in a N676million job scam.
Moro was remanded at Kuje prison after he pleaded not guilty to an 11-count criminal charge that was preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Equally remanded in prison custody was a Deputy Director in the ministry, Mr. F. O Alayebami.
However, Justice Chikere granted administrative bail to the 2nd defendant, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, who was a former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior when the alleged fraud was committed.
Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia who is nursing a baby, through her lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, persuaded the court to allow her to go home to take care of her baby.
Meantime, Justice Chikere has adjourned the case till next week Wednesday to consider whether or not the former Minister and his alleged accomplice should be released on bail pending their trial.
EFCC earlier told the court that one of the accused persons, Mahmood Ahmadu, who was a Director at Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd, a firm that was allegedly used to perpetuate the botched March 15, 2014 Immigration recruitment exercise that killed no fewer than 20 job seekers across the country, is currently at large.
The charge against the accused persons borders on obtaining by false pretence, procurement fraud and money laundering.
Specifically, EFCC alleged that the defendants defrauded 676,675 Nigerian applicants of N676,675,000 (Six Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira).
Each of the 676,675 applicants were charged N1,000 each for participating in the ill-fated Immigration recruitment exercise.
Besides, the defendants were alleged to have flouted the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The anti-graft agency said its investigations revealed that the firm which it said was not validly registered to operate in Nigeria, never bided for the contract.
It said the contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of 4 (Four) firms without seeking the approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement, contrary to sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same act.