The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 arraigned Air Vice Marshal Alkali Mohammed Mamu, a former Air Officer Training Command and a member of the Committee for Procurement, Ministry of Defence before Justice Salisu Garba of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on a 3-count charge of bribery.
Mamu, while being the Air Officer Training Command and member of Committee for Procurement under the Ministry of Defence, allegedly collected a cash gift in the sum of N5.9million (five million, nine hundred thousand naira) for the purchase of a Range Rover Evoque, $300,000 (three hundred thousand US dollars) and two vehicles (Ford Expedition SUV and Jaguar XF Saloon) valued at N15million and N12million respectively from Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nigeria Limited, a contractor with the Nigerian Air Force.
The offence is contrary to Section 17 (a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17(c) of the same Act.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, AVM ALKALI MOHAMMED MAMU whilst serving as the Air Officer Commanding training Command and a member of the Committee for Procurement Ministry of Defence, Abuja between 2014 and 2015 at Abuja within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did accept a gift in the sum of five million nine hundred thousand (N5,900,000.00) from Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nigeria Limited, a contractor with the Nigerian Air Force to make up for the purchase price of a Range Rover Evoque from Coscharis Motors Ltd in performance of your official act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17(c) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him. In view of his plea, counsel to EFCC, Cosmas Ugwu asked the court for a date for trial to commence adding that, “the prosecution intends to present six witnesses.” He further urged the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending trial.
Responding, counsel to the defendant, Tawo E. Tawo, SAN, said he had a pending application dated June 17, 2016 filed and served same day praying the court to admit the defendant to bail.
Ugwu objected, saying “the motion is not ripe for hearing”. He stated that, the application was served on him late on Friday and therefore, prayed for time to respond to it. However, his objection was over-ruled by the court.
Moving the bail application, Tawo stated that the motion is “brought pursuance to Section 162, 163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”
“We seek an order to grant the defendant bail pending trial. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. He has been enjoying administrative bail and has been reporting to the Commission. We urge that the court exercise its discretion and grant the defendant bail to enable him prepare and attend trial”, Tawo pleaded.
Responding, Ugwu argued that, the reliance on presumption of innocence is misplaced at this stage.
“At the stage of bail hearing, it is premature to raise issue of innocence as stated by the appeal court in the case of Nwude vs Federal Republic of Nigeria. Each of the counts attracts nothing less than five years imprisonment. The charge against the defendant is serious which is why it has no option of fine. Therefore, it will be risky to admit the defendant to bail”, Ugwu argued.
Justice Garba, after listening to both counsel adjourned to July 1, 2016 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of trial.
The defendant is to be remanded in prison custody.