Alleged diversion of N2.3bn: Court slams N10m bail on ex-minister, Orubebe

An Abuja High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Godsday Orubebe, a former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, in the sum of N10 million for allegedly diverting N2.3 billion.

The court also granted bail in the sum of N20 million each to Oludare Alaba and Ephraim Zeri, Directors of Contract in the ministry.

Orubebe, Alaba and Zeri were arraigned on a six-count charge by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

The judge, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, in his ruling, ordered Orubebe to produce one surety in like sum.

Adeniyi said that Orubebe’s surety must be a responsible Nigerian with evidence of three years tax payment and land property owner within the FCT.

He said Alaba and Zeri should produce one surety each in like sum, who must be an assistant directors in the civil service and a land owner within the courts jurisdiction.

The judge ordered that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means.

Adeniyi said that Orubebe shall remain in the custody of ICPC until his bail conditions were met and adjourned the case till Nov. 10 for hearing.

The defendants alleged diverted about N2.3 billion meant for the dualisation of Section IV of the East-West Road.

Orubebe allegedly circumvented a Federal Executive Council approval for the dualisation of the Eket-Oron Road, part of the East-West Road which runs from Edo to Bayelsa.

He allegedly instructed the contractor, Gitto Construction, to rehabilitate instead of dualising as approved by the council.

Orubebe and others were also charged with conferring undue advantage on the construction firm when they caused the money meant for compensating residents whose property were marked for demolition paid to Gitto.

Orubebe was also accused of making false statements to the ICPC claiming that the decision to rehabilitate the road rather than dualise it was taken after he had left office as the minister.