The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has dragged a member of the House of Representatives, Oghuma Egwakhide, to court for allegedly taking N1.6m bribe from three contractors.
In the four-count filed before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi, the ICPC said the member who represents Etsako East/West/Central Federal Constituency, Edo State, in the National Assembly, allegedly collected the bribe from contractors handling school projects in the state.
The charge sheet revealed that Egwakhide, who had sponsored the construction of one block of three classrooms at Fugar Mixed Secondary School, Etsako Central Local Government Area, as part of his constituency project in 2018, demanded kickbacks of 10 per cent from the N16.5m contract sum.
He was alleged to have collected N1.6m from Feola Ventures Nigeria Limited, the company handling the project, as bribe after the award of the contract by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
According to a statement on Thursday by the ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, titled, ‘ICPC arraigns House of Rep member, Egwakhide, over N1.6m bribe,’ the commission told the court that the lawmaker’s actions amounted to receipt of gratification and abuse of office in violations of sections 10 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same act.
It read, “Egwakhide pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. His counsel, Samuel Sibiri (SAN), prayed the court to grant him bail on self-recognizance.
“The prayer was not opposed by the ICPC lawyer, Adesina Raheem. He, however, pleaded with the court to grant the accused bail in such terms that would effectively secure his attendance in court.”
The trial judge consequently admitted him to bail in the sum of N20m with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must be resident of the FCT and should be gainfully employed, the court said.