By Abraham Olatokunbo
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has charged a Dean in the University of Calabar, Prof. Francisca Ime Bassey, to court over her alleged involvement in N20.6 million contract fraud.
Prof. Bassey, who is the Dean and Director of the Pre-Degree Programme of the university, was arraigned at the Cross River State High Court Six, Calabar, by the Commission for allegedly holding private interests in multiple contracts awarded by the school to four companies directly owned by her.
The Commission, in a 10-count charge filed before Justice Elias. O. Abua, noted that the alleged crime happened between 2013 and 2017, in violation of Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The charged sheet revealed that Prof. Bassey at different times, benefited from a series of contracts totaling N20,679,324.63 awarded to Bakuf Ventures, Rivet Investment Nigeria Ltd, Joebas Enterprises and Arumo Nigeria Ltd.
It was found that contracts amounting to N7,819,916.24 was allegedly awarded to Bakuf Ventures on four occasions between 2013 and 2017 and other contracts worth N4.7 million were awarded to Rivet Investment Nigeria Ltd between 2013 and 2015 by the institution.
The Dean further used two of her companies, Joebas Enterprises and Arumo Nigeria Ltd to commit multiple contract fraud. She allegedly benefitted from N5,736,797.84 contracts awarded to Arumo Nigeria Ltd and N2,450,700 awarded to Joebas Enterprises within the same period.
The accused entered a not-guilty plea when the charge was read to her, as her counsel, Barrister Joseph Oloku, filed a bail application praying the court to admit her to bail on self-recognizance.
The bail was opposed by counsel to ICPC, Kioba Kio Anabraba, who prayed the court to grant her bail on terms that would make her attend her trials.
The Presiding judge granted her bail in the sum of N5 million with one surety in like sum, insisting that the surety must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter was adjourned to 11th and 12th October, 2021 for trial.