A Federal High Court in Akwa Ibom State has sentenced the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, Bassey Albert to 42 years in prison for fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had in 2019 arraigned Albert on a six-count charge of allegedly taking possession of six vehicles worth N204 million when he was finance commissioner in the state.
He was said to have collected one of the vehicles from Jide Omokore, an associate of Diezani Alison Madueke, a former minister of petroleum. Omokore reportedly had dealings with the state when he offered Bassey the vehicle.
Delivering judgment on Thursday, December 1, 2022, the Presiding Judge Agatha Okeke found the Senator guilty of the offences. Consequently, he was sentenced to Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre to serve his jail term.
Albert, a serving senator representing Akwa Ibom northeast district, was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He, however, defected to the YPP in July where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.
Breach Of Contract: Court Orders Deduction Of N40 Billion From Ebonyi State Allocation
The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to commence deduction of over N40 billion from the Federation Allocation Account for Ebonyi State Government and remittance of same to a consulting firm.
In its order absolute, the court equally ruled that the Ebonyi State Government should pay the firm, Andrew Bishopton Nig Ltd and its partners, Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd, the sum of N118,787,380.00 and other sums for failing to keep to the terms of the contract agreement, it entered with the latter.
The court also ordered the CBN to withdraw the sum of US29,854,856.9 and another N30,100,000,000.00 from the state’s accounts and remit same to the company.
The Ebonyi State Government contracted the company in 2016 to pursue and recover monies illegally deducted on both its foreign and local loans and facilities especially the Paris club refund.
The firm, it was gathered, approached the court following the state government’s alleged reluctance to keep to the agreed contract terms, a development that led to the illegal arrest and detention of a senior staff of the consultancy organisation, Mrs Jackie Ikeotuonye, by the former.
The court, presided over by Justice Dalyop Pam, in its order absolute, ruled that one of the applicants or judgment creditors, Andrew Bishopton Nig Ltd, were treated unfairly by the government.
A copy of the ruling, dated November 2, 2022, which was obtained by our correspondent, on Monday, read, “Upon this garnishee proceedings dated and filed on the 18th of July, 2022, and coming up for Ruling today, the 2nd day of November, 2022.
“Whereas all the parties are absent.
“M.N. Mohammed, SAN with K. Nkwocha, Esq. and R. Asher, Esq. of Counsel for the Judgment Creditors.
“P.N. Zephaniah, Esq. of Counsel for the 1st Garnishee Respondent.
“And the Honourable Court having delivered its Ruling in the open court today, the 2nd day of November, 2022.
“It is hereby ordered as follows:
“An Order Absolute of this Honourable Court is hereby made DIRECTING the 2nd Garnishee (United Bank for Africa Plc) to, within 24 hours, pay the sum of One Hundred and Eighteen Million, Seven and Eighty-Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Naira) (N118,787,380.00) Only, attached from the account maintained by the Judgment Debtor, Government of Ebonyi State known as Ebonyi State Government Treasury Single Account with Account No: 1001158077 maintained with the 2nd Garnishee Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc into the designated Account Name: Mauritz Walton Nig Limited, Bank Name: Wema Bank Plc, Account No: 0122765584, to liquidate the judgment in this suit.
“An Order Absolute of this Honourable Court is hereby made DIRECTING the 1st Garnishee Bank (the Central Bank of Nigeria) to deduct at source, the sum of US29,854,856.9 (Twenty Nine Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty-Six Dollars, Nine Cents) Only and the sum of N30,100,000,000.00 (Thirty Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) Only, respectively from the monthly Federation Allocation Account of the Judgment Debtor, Ebonyi State Government, and credit same into the designated Account of the 2nd Judgment Creditor, Mauritz Walton Nig Limited, Bank Name: Wema Bank, Bank Account: 0122765584, to liquidate the judgment sum in this suit.
“Issued at Port Harcourt, under the seal of the Court and the Hand of the Presiding Judge, this 2nd day of November, 2022.”