Muhammed Wakil, a former Minister of State for power in the country, is to be remanded in prison custody till March 31, 2021, over his alleged involvement in the mismanagement of the N27 billion set aside for the payment of the retirement benefits to staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, slammed him with a two-count charge bordering on corruption and abuse of office.
Wakil was brought before Justice S.B. Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja, alongside two companies; Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving N148 million as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27.1 billion approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of the defunct PHCN.
“That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118 million through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27.1 billion being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act,” the first count read.
Wakil, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the charge.
While the prosecuting counsel, Benjamin Manji, asked the court to set a date for commencement of trial and praying the court to remand the defendant at a Correctional Centre, the defending counsel, B.C Igwilo SAN, prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant.
Justice Belgore, however, adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021, for determination of bail application and remanded Wakil in the custody of the EFCC.