Court Remands Ex-Power Minister In EFCC Custody Over Alleged Corruption

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An Abuja High Court has remanded a former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of corruption.

Wakil, who was arrested by the EFCC at his Abuja residence on Sunday, was arraigned on Monday before Justice Suleiman Belgore on two counts bordering on corruption and abuse of office.

He was arraigned alongside two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited.

According to the anti-graft agency, the former minister allegedly received N118 million as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited, out of the N27,188,232,208 approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

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Count one of the charges read; “That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and Managing Director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118,000,000.00(One Hundred and Eighteen Million) Naira only through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27,188,232,208.20 (Twenty Seven Billion, One Hundred and Eighty-Eight Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Kobo) being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act.”

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The former minister, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

An application for bail by the lawyer to the defendant, Bert Igwilo, was opposed by the prosecution counsel, Benjamin Manji, who insisted that the defendant has to bring a formal application before the court.

The prosecutor also asked the court to set a date for the commencement of the trial and for the remand of the defendant at a correctional centre, pending trial.

The court adjourned the matter until March 31, 2021, for the determination of bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

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