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Jonathan’s former minister of power remanded over corruption charges

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Mohammed Wakil, a former minister of state for power during former president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, has been remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the high court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Nation reports that Justice Suleiman Belgore, in a ruling on Monday, March 8, ordered that Wakil remains in EFCC’s custody until March 31, when his formal bail application would be considered.

It was reported that Justice Belgore gave the ruling when the prosecution opposed the oral bail application made by his lawyer.

Wakil was arraigned on a two-count charge of corruption and abuse of office.

The former minister, who was arrested by the EFCC at his Abuja residence on Sunday, March 7, was arraigned on Monday with two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC accused Wakil of receiving N148 million as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27,188,232,208 approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

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He, however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. It was gathered that shortly after the arraignment, the prosecution’s lawyer, Benjamin Manji sought a date for the commencement of trial.

The defendants’ lawyer, B.C. Igwilo (SAN), applied orally for bail for Wakil, saying: “My lord, our humble application is for the first defendant to be admitted to bail.”

Manji objected, arguing the first defendant has to bring a formal application before the court.

Justice Belgore then adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021, for the hearing of Wakil’s bail application.

Jonathan's former minister of power remanded over corruption charges

A count in the charge reads:

“That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118 million through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27.1 billion being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act.”

Meanwhile, It was reported that it was an overwhelming victory for Bukola Saraki on Thursday, March 4, when a Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed the petition of the EFCC against him.

It was reported that the EFCC, through its lawyer, Nnaemeka Omewa, had filed for the final forfeiture of the former Senate president’s house in Ikoyi but the prayer was turned down during a hearing presided over by Justice Liman Mohammed.

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