A former Minister of State for Power, Muhammed Wakil, was on Monday arraigned before Justice S.B. Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo, Abuja, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on two-count of corruption and abuse of office.
Wakil was arraigned alongside Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving N148 million gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27.1 billion approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
Count one of the charges read, “That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive N118m through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27,188,232,208.20 only being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act.”
A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, titled, ‘EFCC Arraigns Ex –power minister for N148m PHCH severance benefit bribe,’ said the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
It further said the counsel for the prosecution, Benjamin Manji asked the court to set a date for commencement of trial and to remand the defendant at a correctional centre, pending trial.
However, the counsel for the defendants, B.C Igwilo (SAN), prayed the court to grant bail to the first defendant.
“But the prosecution counsel opposed the oral application, while urging the court to order the defendant to file the application formally,” the statement added.
Justice Belgore adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021 for determination of bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.