The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has withdrawn the six-count preferred against former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe over alleged N1.97bn contract fraud.
According to Vanguard, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a Federal High Court sitting in Apo subsequently discharged and acquitted Orubebe.
Orubebe, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, was earlier accused of diverting funds meant for the compensation of owners of properties on Eket Urban section of the East-West Road in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.
An Assistant Director at the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, Oludare Davis Alaba, and the Director of Contracts, Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nig. Ltd., Ephraim Towede Zari were the two other defendants in the charge.
Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in a letter with Ref No. DPPA/MNDA/345/16 addresed to the Chairman of ICPC, said that the N1,965,576,153.46, which Orubebe allegedly diverted, “has not been expended, but is awaiting further contract decisions and directives from the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs”.
The letter which was signed by the Justice Ministry’s Director of Public Prosecution and dated December 16, 2016 said:
“In view of the above, the basis for the prosecution of the accused persons for misappropriation does not exist and thus, further prosecution cannot be justified”.
The letter came shortly after Orubebe and the other defendants were arraigned.
ICPC counsel, Ekoi Akpos who withdrew the case on Tuesday, however said that Malami’s letter did not influence its decision.