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ICPC secures conviction of former college provost, accountant over contract fraud

A former Provost of the Isaac Jasper College of Education, Sagbama, Bayelsa State, Prof Saviour Agoro and a former accountant of the institution, Perez Lakemfa have been convicted by the Bayelsa State High Court over contract fraud amounting to N285 million.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) were charged under Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 for having an interest in and coffering corrupt advantage on themselves and relations as a result of contracts that were awarded by the college.

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

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According to the statement, one of the charges read, “That you, Prof Saviour Agoro (M), on or about the 28th day of November 2014, in Sagbama, while being a Public Officer to wit: the Provost and Chief Executive of Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, knowingly acquired direct private interest in a contract otherwise than as a member of a registered joint stock company consisting of more than twenty (20) persons when he awarded a contract for the Furnishing of One Storey Lecturers’ Offices to Neatmosa Integrated Services Limited, a company in which he is a Director for the sum of N47,115,915.00 under the 2013 and 2014 merged Tetfund Normal Intervention program, and which emanated from Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, where he is the Provost and Chief Executive Officer.”

Ogugua added: “In the 12-count charge against the defendants, the presiding judge, Justice D.E Adekeme, found Prof Agoro guilty on counts 1, 5 to 12 while the second defendant, Perez Lakemfa was found guilty on counts 2 to 4 of the charges.

“Justice Adekeme thereafter pronounced non-custodian sentences on the two defendants based on the charges. The first defendant, (Prof Agoro) was given an option of a fine of N1m while the second defendant, (Lakemfa) was given an option of a fine of N100,000

“ICPC’s prosecutors, Mrs. Peace Arocha and Dr. Agada Akogu had told the court in the course of the trial that the Commission had in May 2017, received a petition alleging that Prof Agoro personalised Tetfund funds by awarding contracts to his company and companies owned by his relatives between the year 2012 and 2014 with flagrant abuse of due process and public procurement rules.

“The Commission, in the course of investigation discovered that the contract for the construction of language laboratory and music studio was awarded to Nancydor Ekperi & Sons Co. Ltd., owned by a friend of the former Provost and former Accountant, Mr. Lakemfa. Other contracts for constructions and supplies were also found to have been awarded to companies owned by family members of the convicts.”

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