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ICPC drags Council Chairman before court over N10m kickbacks

Esther Kalu

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned the Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council in Abuja, Adamu Danze, for allegedly receiving N10 million kickback from a contractor handling construction projects.

Danze was arraigned by the Commission before Justice U. P. Kekemeke of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on allegations of corruption that borders on abuse of office and gratification.

ICPC had filed a six-count charge before the court in which it accused the council chairman of demanding and receiving N10 million bribe from the director of Remotosh Construction Ltd, Aremu Omotosho, in exchange for approving payment for the construction of double cell culvert in Paiko-Kore.

The offence, which was allegedly committed in March 2018, when Danze directed the contractor to transfer the money to his lawyer handling his election tribunal case, violated Sections 8 (1)(a), 10 (a)(i), 18 (b) and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under relevant Sections of the same Act.

One of the charges read: “That you, Adamu Mustapha Danze on or about the month of March, 2018 at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, while being a public officer as the Executive Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council received the sum of N10 million from Engineer Aremu Omotosho, the director of Remotosh Construction Limited for approving payment for the construction of double cell culvert at Paiko-Kore awarded to Remotosh Construction Limited by Gwagwalada Area Council, the sum you asked the contractor to transfer to your counsel defending you in the election tribunal and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 10 (a)(i) and punishable under Section 10 (a)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

Danze, who had a bench warrant issued on him, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him in the language he understood.

After he pleaded not guilty, the warrant was subsequently dismissed by the trial judge following a plea by the defense Counsel, Abdul Mohammed.

The judge was said to have granted the chairman bail in the sum of N20 million and a surety in like sum due to his position, following the apology tendered by his defense counsel, adding that it was just a way to give him a benefit of doubt.

Counsel to ICPC, Michael Adesola, in his counter argument opposed the bail application and prayed the court to remand the accused in a correctional facility to prevent him from interfering and intimidating witnesses, some of whom were employees in the area council.

Justice Kekemeke, having listened to both counsel, held that the defendant cannot jump bail based on his current position.

He said, “The defendant who is the current Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council cannot evade his trial. He has nowhere to hide as I give him the benefit of doubt. The application therefore subsist. Bail is therefore granted to the defendant.”

The judge, meanwhile, adjourned the case to 1st March, 2022 for continuation of trial and subsequently determine whether the council chairman was guilty or not.

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