On Tuesday, a former Director of Physical Planning, and currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Pius Ezeokafor have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before the State High Court sitting in Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Ezeokafor was arraigned on three counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence and gratification to the tune of N27 million.
Presided by Justice O. Ezeoke reads one of the charges, "That you, Arc. Pius Ugochukwu Ezeokafor sometime between the year 2011 and 2012 at Oko, Aguata Local Government Area within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Anambra State, did commit felony to wit: with intent to defraud, obtained by false pretence the sum of N27m from one Emerson Associates Ltd. and Dr Okechukwu Enemuo (being Managing Director of Emerson Associates Limited), when you represented to them that you would help them get a contract of N1 billion upon payment of facilitation fee, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence."
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, alleged that the defendant allegedly met the petitioners on site at the polytechnic where they were executing two construction contracts and offered to use his office as director of physical planning to swing the contract for them if they would pay him N27m facilitation fee.
He explained that "After receiving the payment, the defendant neither facilitated the promised contract nor refund their money.
"Upon arraignment, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the three counts preferred against him by the EFCC," adding that the prosecution counsel, Fortune Asemebo, asked for a trial date while the defence counsel, Lucius Ogbuagu moved a motion for the bail of the defendant.
Justice Ezeoke however granted the defendant bail with the sum of N10m and one surety in like sum who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. The surety must be recommended by a legal practitioner or town union president and must show evidence of tax clearance for the past three years.
Ezeoke then adjourned the matter till October 14, 21, and November 5 for trial.