Report By E.N Iwuala
THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has cleared the impeached deputy governor of Imo State, Mr. Jude Agbaso of alleged N458 million bribery for which he was removed from office.
In a statement by its Director of Operations, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite, the EFCC said though the former deputy governor had been exonerated, following its findings, the commission’s legal department was, however, working on the case file with a view to taking appropriate legal action.
The commission disclosed that in the cause of its investigation, Mr. Dina, the contractor that allegedly gave him bribe in his statement to the commission on March 28, 2013, revealed that he never gave any money to Agbaso or any other official of the state government over the contracts, which were yet to be fully executed as at the last visit of its officers in April 2013.
Mr. Agbaso had petitioned the EFCC to investigate the Managing Director of J-PROS, Mr. Joseph Dina.
In its report, the commission stated: “Road contracts for the sum of one and a half billion Naira awarded to J-PROS International Nig. Ltd was alleged to have engendered fraudulent bribe payments of N458 million by Managing Director of J-PROS, one Joseph Dina, to you as the then deputy governor and Commissioner for Works.
“In furtherance to the investigation, evidence adduced from interview of key officials of Imo State Government and other important witnesses, as well as documents obtained from relevant financial institutions confirmed that N1,305000,000 was paid to J-PROS to execute the Warehouse Orlu road Junction, Odunze street, Aba road and Old Nekede road projects within Owerri metropolis before mobilisation to the sites.
“The total sum of $5,538,830 was found to have been remitted to the personal accounts of Dina in Dubai and Lebanon. There is no single evidence so far that suggested that you benefited from the funds.”
It will be recalled that the State House of Assembly, in March 2013, impeached Agbaso, who was the Imo State Deputy Governor after a seven-man panel headed by Justice G.C. Ihekire, concluded its investigation.
Agbaso was accused of allegedly taking N458m bribe from a Lebanese firm, J-PROS, in charge of the rehabilitation of the Sam Mbakwe Road in Owerri, the state capital.
He was removed from office after 26 out of 27 lawmakers voted for his impeachment.