A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting at Gudu, Abuja on Thursday sentenced a former Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, Engr Samuel Ibi Gekpe to three years imprisonment for criminal breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds in excess of N6 billion meant for rural electrification projects under his agency.
Also sentenced to three years imprisonment for the same offences is a former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Power, Dr Abdullahi Aliyu and three others who stood trial with Engr Gekpe. They are Simon Kirdi Nanle(an accountant at REA), Engr Lawrence Kayode Orekoya(Director of Projects), Abdulsamad Garba Jahun(Assistant Director), and Barrister Kayode Oyedeji(Head of Legal Department) .
The trial judge, Justice Banjoko however gave Engr Gekpe an option of fine of N5million,and the rest convicts an option to pay N500,000:00 each and to be paid within 30 days of delivering the judgement.
In the trial ,EFCC lawyer, Mr Kemi Pinheiro SAN called seven witnesses ( witnesses from the Corporate Affairs Commission, CBN, United Bank for Africa, Rural electrification Agency’s Officers and an Operative of the EFCC; Ibrahim Ahmed) to prove his case against the defendants.
Upon the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendants represented by their lawyer, Paul Ewekoro SAN made a no case submission, arguing that no prima facie case was established the. He therefore called of the court to quash the charges preferred against the defendants.
Justice Banjoko however dismissed the no case submission and directed the defendants to open their defence. The 1st-3rd defendants rested their cases on that of the Prosecution,while the 4th – 6th Defendants testified in person. Final addresses were filed, exchanged and adopted.
Upon adoption of the respective final addresses by the prosecution and the defendants, the court today Thursday February 8, 2018 for judgment.
The court in its well considered judgement dismissed the 1st Defendant’s application challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the Charge. On the substantive charge, the court found that the prosecution had established by evidence, all ingredients of the offences preferred against them.
The court found that the defendants in reckless disregard to the provisions of the public procurement Act, misappropriated the sum in excess of N6 Billion in their manner of payments for d contracts for rural electrification purportedly awarded by them as Public Procurement Committee of the Rural Electrification Agency in 2008.
Upon a careful analysis of the charge and evidences before the court, all the defendants were found guilty of the offences as charged and punishable under the penal code.
The defendants were accordingly convicted and sentenced as follows: 1st defendant sentenced to three years imprisonment with an option of N5million fine, the 3rd – 6th defendants sentenced to 3yrs imprisonment with an option of of N500thousand naira each payable within the next 30 days.