Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, yesterday granted former Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the state, Ope Saraki, N300 million bail with two sureties.
Saraki was dragged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N220 million fraud.
The former adviser to Abdulfatah Ahmed, was arraigned on two-count-charge under Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000. He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Count one reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in 2012 while being the Special Adviser to a former Governor of Kwara State on MDG, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, knowingly acquired indirectly, a private interest in contract worth N171.99,000.00. The contract was awarded to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of Ambulances for 13 General/Specialist Hospitals in Kwara state; contract connected to your office contrary to section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Actm, 2000 and punishable under the same law.
Count two reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in 2012 while being the Special Adviser to the Kwara State governor on MDG, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, knowingly acquired indirectly a private interest in contract worth N49.349.827.00 awarded to MC Drive Logistics and Institute Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of 100 KVA Generators for 13 general/specialist hospitals in Kwara, contract connected to your office contrary to section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under the same law.”
EFCC counsel, Sesan Ola urged the country to remand Saraki in prison. “In view of the defendant’s plea, we apply for a date for trial and urge the court to remand him in prison custody pending the determination of the case” he said.
But, the lead counsel to the defendant, Joshua Olatoki (SAN) opposed prosecution’s application. He prayed the court to grant his client bail pending the trial.
“As senior counsel speaking from the bar, I submit that the two count charges are the same material particular before a Federal High Court.”