The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has dragged Mr Stephen Amase, principal private secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, and a former commissioner of works in the state, who is now the Special Adviser, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Manger Emmanuel, to court for alleged N4.76bn fraud.

A statement signed by the spokesperson for the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Amase and Emmanuel were arraigned before Justice S.O. Itodo of the Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State for conferring unfair advantage on themselves and for holding indirect private interest in a contract valued at over N4.76bn.

She noted that the offence contravened Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The statement read, “The prosecution counsel for the ICPC, Mr G. O. Iwuagwu, informed the judge that sometime in March 2016, the first accused person, 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, Emmanuel, conspired with the principal private secretary by using his position to award a contract to an unqualified company, Tongyi New International Construction Limited, in the same amount in a deliberate act of misleading the state’s 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 ICPC said the accused persons pleaded not guilty, while their counsel, Mr C. A. Asheka (SAN), made application for their bail, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.

Justice Itodo adjourned the case till February 5, 6 and 7, 2020 for further hearing.

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