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Former Minister Remanded Over Corruption Charges

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Former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, has been remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Justice Suleiman Belgore, in a ruling on Monday, March 8, ordered that Wakil remains in EFCC’s custody until March 31, when his formal bail application would be considered.

Justice Belgore gave the ruling when the prosecution opposed the oral bail application made by his lawyer.

The former minister, who was arrested by the EFCC at his Abuja residence on Sunday, March 7, was arraigned on Monday with two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC accused Wakil of receiving N148 million as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27,188,232,208 approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He, however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

It was gathered that shortly after the arraignment, the prosecution’s lawyer, Benjamin Manji sought a date for the commencement of trial. The defendants’ lawyer, B.C. Igwilo (SAN), applied orally for bail for Wakil, saying: “My lord, our humble application is for the first defendant to be admitted to bail.” Manji objected, arguing the first defendant has to bring a formal application before the court.

Justice Belgore then adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021, for the hearing of Wakil’s bail application.

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