Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has arraigned four officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and one other for allegedly receiving gratification and purchasing proceeds of crime.
The Commission made this known in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogogua, who said the five suspects, Adeda Retty, Abimbola Louis, Eboji Ngozi, Okunda Olawale of NIS and Godwin Agazuwu, an agent of Telly Ship, were arrested in a sting operation following an intelligence-led investigation into their underhand activities at the Apapa Port in Lagos.
According to the statement, suspects Adeda, Abimbola, Eboji and Okunda were in possession of 7 cartons of frozen fish which were believed to be proceeds of gratification collected from a vessel flying a Panama Flag and carrying a cargo of fish which berthed at the Port. The fifth suspect, Agazuwu, was said to be responsible for buying the frozen fish from the officers.
This is one of a series of enforcement activities of ICPC at the ports. Recall that last year, the ICPC conducted a similar operation during when two immigration officers and a Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) official were arrested at the same port.
“The Commission in its fight against corrupt practices will from time to time strategically conduct similar operations to sanitise the ports of corrupt elements impacting negatively on international trade, and undermining the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure ease of doing business in the sector.
“A major International stakeholder in the fight against corruption in the ports sector, the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), had expressed concerns about incidences of corruption in the ports which include asking for bribes and gratification from ports officials. Upon completion of investigations, appropriate action will be taken against anyone found culpable,” ICPC said.
Meanwhile, the commission also disclosed that it has secured the conviction of a serving Deputy Director of the Federal Character Commission, (FCC) Alh. Ahmad Balarabe who has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the State High Court 3 sitting in Gusau, Zamfara State for defrauding unsuspecting job seekers of N7million.
Balarabe, had earlier been dragged before Hon. Justice Bello Shinkafi, by the ICPC.
The Convict was first arraigned in September 2018 on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretense, an allegation to which he pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the tone for the long trial.
While delivering his judgement, Justice Shinkafi said that the prosecution had proven their case beyond reasonable doubt and that the action of the convict was “despicable and unbecoming of a public servant”.
He thereby sentenced Ahmad Balarabe to 14 years imprisonment with an option of fine of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira). The judge also ruled that the convict should pay back N7million to the victims of the crime, in line with Section 11 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act and Section 321 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.