By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A former Member of the House of Representatives, Onadeko Onamusi, has been arraigned before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory over his alleged complicity in N68.7million contract scam.
The ex-lawmaker was docked on an 18-count criminal charge the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, preferred against him.
The ICPC, in a statement that was signed by the head of its Media Department,
Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, alleged that the Defendant used his private company, Haines & Baines, to execute several contracts for the National Assembly while he was working as a Senior Legislative Aide.
It told the court that several contracts for buying ambulance vehicles, supply of hospital equipment and drugs for Primary Health Centres, as well as construction of classrooms for some selected schools in six communities of Ogun East Senatorial District, were awarded to Haines & Baines, where the Defendant doubled as a Managing Director.
The prosecuting agency maintained that action of the former lawmaker ran contrary to sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Meanwhile, the Defendant pleaded not guilty before trial Justice C. N. Oji of the Abuja High Court at Apo.
According to the charge sheet, the ex-Reps member allegedly received contracts in November, 2016, from the National Assembly for the construction of blocks of three classrooms at Odogbulu Grammar School, Ogun East; Ijebu Imushin Comprehensive High School, Ijebu East; United Anglican Primary School, Iworo, Ijebu North-East; and St. Barnabas Anglican Primary School, Ilishan/Ikenna, Ogun East, at the total cost of N43.6 million.
His company further got contracts for the supply of hospital equipment, drugs and ambulance vehicles for Community Health Centre, Itele, Ijebu East; Obada Health Centre, Oke-Sopin, Ijebu North; and Obada Health Centre, Ogijo, Sagamu, all in Ogun East Senatorial District, valued at N20.2 million.
Count one of the charge against him read, “Hon. Onamusi Onadeko, on or about 4th November, 2016, being employed in the public service as a Senior Legislative Aide in the National Assembly and being the Managing Director of Haines and Baines, Ltd., did knowingly directly acquire a private interest in a contract for the construction of a block of three classrooms at Ijebu Imushin Comprehensive High School, Ijebu East, Ogun East Senatorial District, Ogun State to the tune of N11, 863, 444.16 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
The Defendant however pleaded not guilt to the charge, even as his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Olatoye, prayed the court to release him on bail to enable him to attend to his health having just returned from England where he had gone to seek medical attention.
However, counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Ephraim Otti, opposed the bail application, citing instances where he said the Defendant jumped administrative bail that was granted to him by the Commission.
He told the court that it took ICPC more than one year to track down the Defendant.
After he had listened to both sides, Justice Oji adjourned ruling on the bail application till December 10, adding that the Defendant should remain in the custody of his lawyer, pending the ruling.