Ope Saraki faces corrupt charges

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Ilorin

Ope Saraki,former Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goal to the Kwara State government on Thursday, appeared in a Kwara State High Court, Ilorin on a two-count charge bordering on corruption.

The accused is said to be a cousin of the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

He is facing trial before Justice Adenike Akinpelu.

The accused was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), arraigned for allegedly diverting funds meant for the purchase of 13 ambulances and 13 generators for 13 General/Specialist Hospitals in the state.

The commission said that the money, totalling N221,339,827.00, was Kwara State Government fund.

The EFCC also alleged that Saraki, allegedly acquired indirectly a contract worth N171,990,000.00 for the purchase of 13 units of ambulance for 13 General/Specialist hospitals to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited.

The commission further alleged that the accused committed the offence while serving as Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goal to the Kwara State government,

The prosecution also alleged that the accused,knowingly acquired contract worth N49,349,827.00 to MC Drive Logistics and Institutes Limited for 13 units of 100 KVA generators for 13 General/Specialist hospitals in the state.

The offences, the prosecutor said, were contrary to Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under the same law.

Saraki, however, pleaded not guilty to the two charges while the prosecuting counsel, Sesan Ola, urged the court to remand him in any of the correctional facilities within the state.

The defence counsel, Dr Kayode Olatoke (SAN), however, prayed the court to grant his client bail in liberal terms, promising that Saraki being a man of substance would not jump bail, if granted.

Olatoke told the court that the accused had been facing similar charge at the Federal High Court in Ilorin,adding Saraki’s travelling documents had been deposited with the court for the past five years.

“The defendant had been charged before the Federal High Court for similar offence since 2015, he was granted bail and his travelling documents have been deposited in the court.

“He has not run away from the country since then and he cannot run away. He is a bonafide citizen of this country and he has no place to run to,” he said.

After listening to the prosecuting and defence counsel, Justice Akinpelu granted the accused bail in the sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum and adjourned till April,16, 2020 for hearing.

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