The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, 5th February, 2016, arraigned Akerejola Joseph Folorunsho, Chairman of Akoko Edo Local Government of Edo State; Ogbekhiulu Benjamin, Engr. Enabulele Ferguson, John Emmanuel Oyana, Engr. Victor Ewelafoh, Gadimoh Ozavesh and Amuda Balogun on a 12-count charge of criminal conspiracy running into millions of naira, before Justice E.A Edigin of the Edo State High Court, Benin city.
The six accused, in various capacities, allegedly inflated contracts and forged documents for projects executed in the council. The projects which contracts were said to be inflated include: renovation and re-opening of Erhurun Maternity; procurement of three transformers; procurement of six Toyota buses for mass transit; and installation of 300kVA transformer at Sasaro village.
Count two of the charge reads:
“That you Akerejola Joseph Folorunsho, being Executive Chairman of Akoko Edo Local Government of Edo State, Ogbekhiulu Benjamin, Engr. Enabulele
Ferguson, John Emmanuel Oyana, Engr. Victor Ewelafoh, Gadimoh Ozavesh and Amuda Balogun sometimes between April and August 2013 at Ibarra, within the Judicial Division of the High Court of Edo State awarded and inflated the contract for projects thus: grading and filling of road in Asbanishimu, Solana, Onumu, OguguAyauza, Ibillo- 18km in all, for N16,000,000.00 (Sixteen Million Naira), the said money was above the prevailing market price and professional standards and the money was diverted to personal use for a job not done and thereby committed an offence.
count 11 reads;
“That you Mr Gadimoh Ozavesh , sometime between April 2013 to August 2013 at Igarra, within the Judicial Division of the High Court of Edo State inflated the contract price for the Procurement of 6 Nos Toyota Buses for Mass Transit from N31,470,000.00 (Thirty-One Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Naira) to N38, 700,000.00(Thirty- Eight Million, Seven
Hundred Thousand Naira) only which was above the prevailing market price and professional standard, thereby committed an offence”.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecution counsel, Steve Odiase asked the court for a date for hearing.
However, the team of defence counsel led by B. S Osamoje told the court that they had filed individual applications for bail for the six accused dated February 2, 2016 and served on the prosecution.
Justice Edigin admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of N3 million each with one surety in like sum. The sureties should all be residents in Edo State and are to deposit two passport photographs each with the court and swear to an affidavit of means.
The case was adjourned to April 19, 20, 21, and 22, 2016 for hearing.