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Cleric demands probe of Oshiomole over corruption as APC convention date gets closer

A cleric resident in Benin, Edo state, Bishop Osaldor Ochei has filed an ex-parte motion seeking a court mandate on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe the administration of Adams Oshiomhole, ex-governor of the state.

Oshiomhole is widely believed to the favorite to be elected chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming national convention of the party.

A bishop of the Divine Heavenly Vision International Ministry, Edo, in a suit filed at the federal high court, Abuja, and dated June 12, 2018, the applicant laid allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Oshiomhole.

The Edo bishop also accused the EFCC of neglect of its duties citing failure to probe the former governor as reasons.

The applicant further prayed the court to grant him a leave to apply for the “issuance of an of mandamus” compelling the anti-graft agency to investigate Oshiomhole over allegations contained in an earlier petition dated October 28, 2016.

The applicant said he had complained to the EFCC “on a number of occasions without eliciting any response or interest from the 1st respondent in this regards”

“That on the 4th May 2012, one Matthew Edaghese sent a petition to the 1st respondent against the 2nd respondent complaining that while serving as governor of Edo state, the 2nd respondent built a mansion on a huge expanse of land worth more than N10bn naira in excess of the 2nd respondent’s legitimate income as governor,” the suit read.

“The 1st respondent did nothing about the said petition, despite its duty to do so under section 7 of the EFCC act, 2004.

“That on the 4th November 2016, the applicant sent a partition to the 1st respondent against the 2nd respondent’s corrupt practices while he served as governor of Edo state.”

In the petition filed on November 4, 2016, Ochei alleged that Oshiomhole, while serving as governor, usurped for his personal use, a land gifted to the University of Benin by the state government.

He added that the former NLC chairman went ahead to erect a structure worth over N500 million on the said land, a sum which he says is more than Oshiomhole’s legitimate salary as a governor.

He also accused Oshiomhole of awarding contracts worth N14.8 billion without due process for the construction of 168-room hostel in the state university and a teaching hospital for the state.

He alleged that the 2nd respondent approved the diversion of N1.2bn for the construction of an accident and emergency ward complex.

According to the plaintiff, “the 2nd respondent’s knack for frivolously borrowing money in the name of Edo state but spending same other than for the benefit of the state, was acknowledged by the former minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala in her book: ‘Fighting corruption is dangerous’”.

Ochei said the alleged failure of the EFCC to act on his petition led Oshiomhole “to boast openly to his kindred that he was untouchable and that no anti-corruption agency of government would dare investigate him.”

In the affidavit filed in support of the motion, Ochei said the EFCC had contacted him via a telephone call on January 5, 2017, demanding evidence to support his allegations.

He said he made the evidence available to the commission, yet it did not act on the case.

He further alleged that the refusal of the EFCC to probe Oshiomhole has enabled his successor Godwin Obaseki, to largely continue with “the 2nd respondent’s arbitrary and corrupt use of public funds”.

“That the applicant being a citizen of Nigeria interested in the rule of law, the supremacy of the constitution and the enforcement of the existing laws has instituted this action to ensure that the 1st respondent appears before this honourable court to explain why the very strongly worded petition, backed with facts and a prima facie case was not treated by the 1st respondent despite the duty imposed on it by the law to do same,” the affidavit, dated June 13, read.

No date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the motion.

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