Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello has adjourned the trial of Arc. Umaru Aliyu till 19th October, 2017.
Defendant in the case, Aliyu was in January 2010 charged to court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly falsifying contract documents in cahoot with one Ocheje Augustine Otabo, his assistant while he was the Director of Architectural Services at the defunct Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Abuja in 2006.
Until the adjournment, the ruling on trial-within-trial was slated for Tuesday 27th September, 2017, but the court could not sit on the matter.
The law suit filed as: CR/96/2010 which is currently being prosecuted by ICPC’s prosecution counsel was at the instance of furnishing false returns and making false statements to officers of the Commission (ICPC) by defendants seen as an attempt to cover up for N16 million said to have been allegedly pilfered away as money purportedly expended in carrying out renovation and maintenance work by them while serving as ministry officials.
According to background information, in September 2006, under Aliyu who is currently the out President of Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), N16million was declared to have been used to carry out renovation and maintenance works by the Architectural Services Department at the then federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development in Abuja and in one of the state offices in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State in September 2006 with Aliyu’s assistant, Otabo being the schedule officer in charge of the renovations while in actual fact there were no such renovation works.
With the presidential directive during the Obasanjo’s years which mandated MDAs to return money not used for their intended purposes, Aliyu and Otabo allegedly backdated the time for renovations’ completion in order to mop up the alleged financial impropriety.
“Investigators went to all the places where the renovation works were intended and they discovered that it was a ruse as there were no such renovations carried out,” a source disclosed.
“To perfect the act they had to falsify all papers including the documents for completion of works. They backdated the date on those documents for it to appear such works were done,” he said.
According to the 8-count charge against the defendants, charge 1 where Aliyu was accused reads “You Umaru Aliyu sometimes in the month of September 2006 or thereabout at Abuja with intent to conceal a crime falsified the date on the application of approval for the execution of maintenance works by direct labour in federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development Headquarters Abuja and federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development Headquarters, Birnin-Kebbi being the application purportedly needed for the release of money needed for the said maintenance works when no such maintenance work was later executed and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 A of the ICPC Act.”
The second defendant, Otabo after admitting to the initial charges against him tried to backtrack on his earlier admissions denying that his initial statement was made out of deceit and inducement which according to legal expert necessitated the trial-within-trial to firstly investigate the alleged inducement before pressing on with the substantial charges brought against the accused.
It was gathered the case which has remained undecided at the court, 7 years after its first hearing has lingered on due to busy nature of the trial judge as the administrative judge of High Court 1, Abuja.
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