The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has dragged the APC candidate for the Ideato North and South Federal Constituency Mr. Abazu Chika Benson to the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja over alleged bribery and corruption levelled against him.
The Appeal seeks to upturn the no case submission ruled in his favour recently by a Federal High Court
In the Appeal No786/2019 of which all the records have now been transmitted to the Court of Appeal the ICPC is of the strong belief that its three grounds of appeal are enough to upturn the High Court ruling and for Mr. Abazu Chika Benson to be convicted.
In a copy of the six-count charge filed at the High Court and which was sighted by our correspondent, the ICPC alleged in count one that Abazu Chika Benson on 14th April, 2014 while being a public officer allegedly asked for and received the sum of N10, 000, 000:00 from a contractor as gratification thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 10(a)(i) of the ICPC Act which is punishable with imprisonment for 7 years. The contractor who already gave evidence testified that Mr. Abazu informed him that the N10, 000, 000:00 bribe was for the “First Lady”.
With the facts of the Appeal now made public, political stakeholders in Ideato are of the view that Mr. Abazu was unelectable and that the Appeal had made it easy for them to reach that conclusion. Chief Simon Osueke, a prominent Ideato leader said the people of Ideato “cannot walk into this fire with their eyes open and suffer the shame Okigwe North Federal Constituency suffered when their representative was arrested by EFCC for corruption related offences and he died and left the people for a long time without any representation in the Green chamber”.
Other stakeholders across party lines also opined that in this season Nigerians will vote for credible candidates and not political parties concluding that the appeal by the ICPC as contained in the 932 page record of appeal vindicates their earlier held beliefs that Mr. Abazu was a person of questionable character whose source of wealth could not be ascertained.
The proof of evidence attached by the ICPC further showed that while still a public servant and against the code of conduct for Public Officers, Mr. Abazu registered the Company Transtell Nigeria Limited through which he collected the bribes and was the sole signatory to the account of the company.
In counts three and six, the anti-corruption agency also alleged that Chika Abazu Benson also asked for and received of N4, 000, 000:00 and N3, 000, 000:00 respectively from the same contractor. It said the emboldened Chika Abazu even collected the last N3, 000, 000:00 in his private account with the United Bank for Africa, UBA. The Commission further alleged that when the said contractor could not complete the N23, 000, 000:00 bribe demanded of him, Mr. Abazu who then was a Special Assistant to the Director General used his office to arbitrarily terminate the contract.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal but lawyers to whom the Notice of Appeal had been shown alongside the record of appeal are optimistic that the appeal will succeed as prima facie case had been made against Abazu and that he would be in the dock sooner than later.