Wednesday, April 20, 2016 8:35 pm
Henry Nonso Ugbolue and Lawrence Pepple were slammed with criminal conspiracy, false declaration of assets and fraudulent acquisition of property to the tune of N55million. Justice M. M. Kolo of Federal Capital Territory High Court, Wuse, Abuja is hearing the case.
Ugbolue, Special Assistant, Media & Communication and Pepple, Technical Assistant on Reintegration, were to be arraigned alongside their principal, Kuku, but due to Kuku’s continued absence in court, his name was removed from the charge to enable the two others enter their plea.
Kuku and Ugbolue were alleged to have conspired among themselves and awarded contracts running into millions to companies in which they had interests.
Ugbolue is the sole signatory of Great & Gamaliel Alliance Limited, the company which provided integrated management of communications and stakeholders’ engagement chain for the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta.
Pepple is director and sole signatory for KER Global Wave limited which was awarded a contract to provide Reintegration Support Services by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Particulars of count two of the charge read:
“Kingsley Kuku while being the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta and Henry Nonso Ogbolue whilst being employed as a public servant as special assistant (media and communication) to the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta on about 26th day of November, 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did criminally conspire between yourselves and awarded a contract worth N27, 382, 952. 47 to provide integrated management of communications and stakeholders’ engagement chain for the office of the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta to Great & Gamaliel Alliance Ltd (wherein Henry Nonso Ogbolue is the sole signatory to the account of the Great and Gamaliel Alliance Ltd).”
Ugbolue and Pepple were arraigned on 3 and 2 amended count charge respectively.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were read to them
In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, Johnson Ojobane asked the court for a date for trial to commence.
However, the defence counsel, Karina Tunyan, SAN, citing Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, said the offence is bailable.
The counsel added that the defendants had been on administrative bail and had been voluntarily presenting themselves whenever they were needed at the EFCC.
“This is clear indication that they will not jump bail, prejudice investigation or frustrate their trial”, Tunyan said.
He therefore urged the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal terms.
While not opposing the application, Ojobane urged the court to exercise its discretion, if it is inclined to grant bail, on such conditions that will warrant the continuous attendance of the defendants.
Justice Kolo granted bail to Ugbolue in the sum of N10 million (ten million naira) and one surety in like sum. The surety must have landed property in Abuja with documents be deposited in the court.
Pepple on the other hand was admitted to bail in the sum of N5 million (five million naira) and one surety in like sum. The surety who must be resident in Abuja must have landed property in the capital city with the documents deposited in the court.
Justice Kolo has adjourned to May 12, 2016 for commencement of trial.
The accused are to be remanded in EFCC custody until they perfect their bail terms.