By Amara Christa
The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned one Ope Saraki, on two count charges bordering on contract scam to the tune of N220,000,000.
He is a cousin of the immediate past President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki.
Saraki was arraigned before Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin.
The EFCC alleged that the defendant, while serving as Special Adviser to the Kwara State Government, knowingly acquired a contract of the supply 13 Ambulances to General Hospitals into a company which he had interest.
Count one of the Charge reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, Sometime in 2012, whilst being the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kwara State on Millennium Development Goals (MDG), within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly acquired indirectly a private interest in contract worth N171,990,000.00 awarded to Chemistry Nigeria Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of Ambulances for 13 General/Specialist Hospital in Kwara State, contract connected to your office contrary to Section 12 of the corrupt practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same law.”
When the two count charges were read to him, Saraki pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting Counsel, Sesan Ola prayed the Court for a trial date in view of the defendant’s plea.
He also asked that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service pending the hearing and determination of the case”.
But defence counsel, Dr N Olatoke urged the Court to grant bail to his client pending the hearing and determination of the case stating that Saraki would not jump bail as his international passport had been in the Custody of the EFCC.
Justice Akinpelu, in her ruling, granted bail in the sum of N300,000,000 to the accused person. The judge also said that the defendant must produce two sureties with verifiable addresses.
She said Saraki should remain in the custody of the EFCC till he perfects his bail conditions.
Further hearing in the case has been adjourned till April 16, 2020.