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N1.4bn found in judges’ secret account - N185m contract awarded to fake firm - Judge, others face trial

Posted by Lanre Adewole, Abuja on 2008/08/17 | Views: 1494 |

N1.4bn found in judges’ secret account - N185m contract awarded to fake firm - Judge, others face trial


THE alleged unspent budgetary allocation scam rocking the National Judicial Institute (NJI) has taken a new twist with the recovery of over N1.7 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

THE alleged unspent budgetary allocation scam rocking the National Judicial Institute (NJI) has taken a new twist with the recovery of over N1.7 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While N1.4 billion was said to have been recovered from a secret account in a new generation bank, about N300 million was reportedly recovered from contractors to the institute, who allegedly inflated contracts.

The immediate past administrator of the institute, Justice Timothy Oyeyipo, was removed over the alleged scam. Justice Umaru Eri has since replaced him.

Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed the recovery, but said that he did not have the details.

Nigerian Tribune, however, gathered from a source close to the Supreme Court that a copy of the investigative report allegedly indicting Oyeyipo and three others over the alleged scam had been made available to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, who is the chairman of the institute.

It was further learnt that Oyeyipo and others reportedly indicted by the commission had been slated for trial, with another source indicating that the finishing touches were being put to charges against them.

Oyeyipo, who until his suspension from office in May was the boss of the institute, was alleged in a petition to have diverted N400 million unspent budgetary allocation to an unknown account, but an investigation into the allegation was said to have revealed that what he was alleged to have diverted was nothing compared to the scam that he allegedly perpetrated.

Investigation into the alleged scam, according to the Nigerian Tribune source, revealed that the actual amount allegedly diverted by Oyeyipo in collaboration with three others was N1.4 billion, which was reportedly recovered from a secret account with a bank (name withheld).

It was also learnt that despite a presidential order as contained in a circular issued in October 2007 that all accounts should be closed by December 28, 2007, the NJI, under Oyeyipo’s leadership, allegedly went ahead to award phoney contracts to the tune of N185 million.

Oyeyipo’s NJI, according to the source, only declared N7 million as unspent budgetary allocation at the end of last December.

It was gathered that the alleged phoney contracts claimed to have been awarded on December 10, 2007, were actually awarded in January 2008, but back-dated to December 10 to beat the presidential directive.

The source noted that the investigative report also revealed that most of the companies that got the contracts were unregistered, while the registered contractors did not do the job paid for.

Nigerian Tribune source said that the alleged contracts were just used to divert public funds. Oyeyipo and his alleged accomplices were said to have been recently quizzed by the commission’s operatives, with useful information reportedly got from them.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.