The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, June 15, 2017 presented its 3rd and 4th witnesses in the trial of Professor Thomas Agan, Chief Medical Director of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and eight others allegedly involved in an N85million procurement scam.
The witnesses: Usman Adoke and Aminu Yabo, both operatives of the EFCC, told a Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross Rivers State and presided over by Justice I.E. Ekwo, some of their findings in their investigation of some of the suspects before the court.
In his testimony, Adoke presented a statement made to the EFCC by the 3rd defendant, Effiong Okon Oduobong and a letter written to the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, by the EFCC. The statement and the letter to the CAC were admitted as exhibits PW3N and PW3NO respectively.
Adoke told the court, while being cross examined by defense counsel, Mba Ukwueni, SAN, that the 3rd defendant did not follow due process in bidding for the offer. He further said that the contract sum was inflated from N8million to N14million as against ELIZADE’s specifications for an Advance Life Support Ambulance while a Coastal Bus of N13million was bought at the rate of N45million.
When he was asked, if in his investigation, he was able to physically access the vehicles allegedly bought by the defendant, Adoke said that he was not allowed to inspect them, in spite of all efforts made in that regard. Also, Adoke stated that findings from the Bureau of Public Procurement showed that there was no evidence of pre- qualification of Basemark Construction Company Limited for the contract.
The 4th prosecution witness, Aminu Yabo told the court that his team took the statement of the 7th defendant: Emmanuel Etta Nkim, Managing Director of BaseMark Constuction Company Limited and the statement was admitted as exhibit PW4A1.
The Diamond’s bank statement of account which showed the 7th defendant’s inflow of withdrawals was admitted as exhibit PW4A2, while a letter of investigation activities written to the bank was marked as exhibit PW4B.
While being cross examined by the defense counsel, Yabo told the court that the 7th defendant failed to avail the EFCC names of companies where the vehicles were purchased; receipts of purchase and relevant phone numbers. When asked to present a response by the CAC to the enquiries made, he said the response was still being awaited.
Justice Ekwo, after listening to the testimonies of the two witnesses, discharged them and adjourned the matter to 4, 5 and 6 October, 2017 for continuation of trial.
Professor Agan and his colleagues were arraigned on April 3, 2017 on a five count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, bid-rigging, abuse of office and breach of due process contrary to Procurement Act 2007.
They are alleged to have used their positions to corruptly influence the award of the purchase of an Advance Life Support Ambulance vehicle and one Toyota Coaster Bus to Anchor Industrial and Construction Services Limited and Basemark Energy Nigeria Limited by inflating their costs and without following due procurement processes to the tune of N85, 062,000.00 thereby contravening the Public Procurement Act 2007.