Alleged N2.3b Diversion: Ex-Minister Orubebe Gets N10m Bail

Godsday-OrubebeA Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja has granted a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe and two others bail at N50million.

The trio were arraigned before the court on Wednesday morning on a six-count charge bordering on corruption, perjury, and diversion of public funds.

The two others are Oludare Lawrence Alaba, an Assistant Director, Ministry of Niger Delta Affiars and Ephraim Tewolde Zeri, Director of Contracts in Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nigeria Limited.

They are, in the charge filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), accused among others, of diverting about N2.3b meant for the compensation of property owners to be affected by the Federal Government’s dualisation project of Section IV of the East West Road.

Orubebe and others pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which Justice Kayode Adeniyi granted the ex-minister bail at N10m and one surety, who must be a responsible Nigerian, resident in Abuja and must show evidence of regular tax payment.

Justice Adeniyi granted Alaba and Zeri bail at N20m and one surety each, who are to be residents in Abuja.

The judge said Alaba’s surety must be an Assistant Director in any Federal Government parastatal, while Zeri’s surety must own property in Abuja and show evidence of ownership.

Justice Adeniyi who adjourned to November 10 for commencement of trial, ordered the defendants to be kept in ICPC’s custody pending when they are able to perfect their bail conditions.

It would be recalled that the case was earlier slated for hearing last week but had to be postponed till today following a domestic accident suffered by the former minister.

Mr. Orubebe, who maintains his innocence, alleged that he was unduly being persecuted, recalling that the ICPC investigated and found nothing incriminating against him about a year ago.

“My hands are clean and I did not do anything wrong throughout my tenure as Minister of Niger Delta. I want Nigerians to know that I am being unjustly persecuted and that what they are doing to me is unfair”, he said.