A FEDERAL high court in Abuja, today, Monday, February 29, remanded Abba Moro, a former minister of Interior, and F. O Alayebami, a deputy director in the ministry, in Kuje Prison pending the hearing of their bail applications scheduled for Wednesday, March 2.
Justice Anwuli Chikere ordered the remand of the accused in prison shortly after they were arraigned on 11 counts of N675m fraud bordering on the botched March 15, 2014 National Immigration Services, NIS, recruitment exercise.
But Chikere allowed Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, one of the accused persons, who is a former permanent secretary in the ministry, to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on February 22.
The EFCC arraigned Moro, Daniel-Nwobia and Alayebami along with Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd, the firm contracted to execute the recruitment exercise on Monday, February 29.
The accused persons who were represented by separate lawyers, pleaded not guilty to the 11 counts, when the charges were read to them.
however, the company was not represented by anybody and a not-guilty plea was recorded for it.
The prosecution accused the defendants of offences bordering on obtaining money by false pretences, procurement fraud and money laundering.
The defendants allegedly defrauded graduate applicants of N675,675,000 during the 2014 Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment, during which no fewer than 20 job seekers lost their lives.
The EFCC also accused them of defrauding the 675, 675 applicants of N675,675,000.
Each of the 676,675 applicants was charged N1,000 each.
The defendants allegedly flouted the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC also alleged that Drexel EFCC had no prior advertisement and no needs assessment and procurement plan was carried out before the contract was awarded.
According to the anti-graft agency, the contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of four firms without seeking the approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement.
The said act was said to be contrary to sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same Act.
— Feb 29, 2016 @ 12:48 GMT