PRIOR to his conviction for impersonation and forgery, a former member of the House of Representatives and a former governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Chuma Nzeribe had been caught in multi-million naira government school projects contracts fraud, an earlier investigation by The ICIR has shown.
The investigation revealed that two companies —Jesse Global Concept Limited and Pranav Contracting Nigeria Limited — linked to the former lawmaker were among the beneficiaries of over 300 school projects which were awarded by Universal Basic Education Comission(UBEC) in 2015 but failed to execute the projects properly two years after despite receiving full funds to execute the projects.
It showed that a contract which comprises demolition and construction of two blocks of classrooms, the supply of furniture and resuscitation of a water borehole at St. Anthony School Azia in Ihiala South Local Council, Anambra State was awarded to Pranav Contracting Nigeria Limited of which Mr Chuma Nzeribe was its board chairman at the cost of N35 million.
The investigation further revealed that another company owned by Nzeribe, Pyramid Energy Limited also failed to complete the rehabilitation of a technical workshop and laboratory in Technical School Ubahuekwem, also located in Ihiala local government area. The project was awarded at the cost of N25 million.
However, the two projects were not completed by the companies two years after despite receiving full funds for the projects, the investigation published by The ICIR in 2018 revealed.
Meanwhile, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday secured the conviction of the former member of the House of Representatives, for impersonation and forgery.
The EFCC had alledged that the Nzeribe was in possession of the statutory right of occupancy bearing the name of Ramatu Alhassan with reference Number MFCT/LA/FCT 1302 dated 18/06/03.
Halilu Yusuf, the judge, found the former lawmaker guilty of impersonation, possession of federal government documents and using the same to fraudulently acquire land in the Maitama district of Abuja.
Delivering judgment, Justice Yusuf Halilu of FCT High Court held that the prosecution has proven it case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge deferred the sentencing to when the Nzeribe will be brought to court or in custody.
“… the EFCC, IGP will arrest him and bring him before me for me to be able to do the needful by sentencing him accordingly.
“ In the meantime, sentencing in this situation is thereby deferred” the judge held.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice and good governance. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.