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ICPC Drops Forgery, Funds Diversion Charges Against Obono-Obla

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ICPC Drops Forgery, Funds Diversion Charges Against Obono-Obla

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has dropped the school result falsification and forgery charges it levelled against an ex-presidential aide, Okoi Obono-Obla in 2019.

Naija News reports that Obono-Obla was suspended as the chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property in August 2019 over alleged falsification of records and financial impropriety.

On September 17, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the ICPC to probe the allegations against Obono-Obla, and prosecute him.

The commission subsequently declared Obono-Obla wanted and arrested him in March 2020. On July 1, 2020, the ICPC filed 10 counts against him and his co-defendants at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

But the commission subsequently withdrew the charges and refiled the 10 counts at the FCT High Court on July 8, 2020 with  Obono-Obla, his former Senior Assistant, Special Duties (Protocol), Aliyu Ibrahim, and the Managing Director of ABR Global Petroleum Resources Ltd, Daniel Omughele Efe, charged as co-defendants.

CPC accused Obono-Obla of two of the 10 counts of forgery and falsification of his O’Level examination result with which he was allegedly admitted to the University of Jos (UNIJOS) to study Law.

He was specifically accused “of dishonestly using as genuine”, “a Mary Knoll College, Ogoja General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level, May/June 1982 (GCE) Statement of Result for Ofem Okoi Ofem with candidate No: 09403/247 showing an O’Level credit (6) score for Literature in English as part of the five O’Level credit requirement” for him to study Law for the 1985/86 academic session in UNJOS.

The commission alleged that he used the result when he “had reason to believe that the document (GCE), the basis upon which you were admitted to study Law in UNIJOS, was forged as you never sat for the English Literature examination for May/June 1982 GCE.”

Meanwhile, the agency has amended its charges against the former presidential aide on March 4, 2021. The commission dropped the two charges of result forgery and falsification contained in the original 10 counts.

Aside from reducing the total number of counts to five, the commission also removed Efe’s name from the charges leaving Obono-Obla and Ibrahim as the remaining defendants.

The amendment also saw the removal of “diversion” of funds from the charges. It also removed the N19,994,185 allegedly diverted by the defendants in July 2019.

The prosecution substituted the N10, 174,000 with N10, 174,000 which it now claims, in the amended charges, to have been paid to some contractors from the N15, 187, 917 the NDIC was said to have paid to some contractors for the furnishing of the SPIP offices.

In the previous charges, ICPC claimed the N19,994,185 was paid into Mr Ibrahim’s personal account, but in the amended charges, it claims the N10, 174,000 was paid into the account of ABR Global Petroleum Resources LTD, a company where Mr Ibrahim was said to be a director and signatory to its account.
Re-arraignment

The trial judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, had on January 23, 2021 after the defendants were re-arraigned, fixed March 17 for commencement for trial.

But with the amendment of the charges, Obono-Obla and Mr Ibrahim will likely be re-arraigned on amended charges on the date for the resumed hearing.

Source: Naija News

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.