The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has arraigned an aide of Benue state governor, Samuel Ioraer Ortom along with another before Justice S.O Itodo in Benue State High Court, Makurdi, Benue State.
The aide, Stephen Amase, Principal Private Secretary to Governor Ortom was arraigned along with Mr Manger T Emmanuel, a former Commissioner of Works and presently, Special Adviser, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology.
ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat A. Okoduwa said “the duo were arraigned for conferring unfair advantage upon themselves and for holding indirect private interest in a contract valued at N4,766,858,449.63 (Four billion seven hundred and sixty-six million eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) only, an offence which contravenes Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
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The prosecution counsel for ICPC, Mr. G. O Iwuagwu informed the Judge that sometime in March 2016, the first accused person, Mr. Stephen Amase while being a public servant as the Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, conferred unfair advantage upon himself by using his position to secure the award of a contract to Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, from the government he is serving, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Iwuagwu also told the Judge that the second accused person, Mr. Manger T.Emmanuel conspired with the Principal Private Secretary by using his position to award a contract to an unqualified company Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, in a deliberate act of misleading the State Tenders Board and State Executive Council in the award of the contract, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The counts were read and the accused persons pleaded not guilty, the defence counsel, Mr C. A. K. Asheka, SAN made an application for their bail, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel. Justice Itodo granted them bail in the sum of N10,000,000 with one surety each of not less than grade level 16 and serving with the Benue State Government.
The sureties are to deposit evidence of ownership of landed property within Makurdi metropolis. The case was adjourned to 5th, 6th and 7th of February, 2020 for further hearing.