Adamu Danze, the Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, has been charged by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for accepting a N10 million kickback from a contractor overseeing building projects.
Danze was charged with corruption, abuse of office, and gratuity before Justice U. Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 4, sitting in Abuja.
The ICPC had filed a six-count complaint against the council chairman, accusing him of seeking and accepting a N10 million bribe from Aremu Omotosho, the Director of Remotosh Building Ltd, in exchange for sanctioning payment for the construction of a double cell culvert in Paiko-Kore.
The offence was allegedly committed in March 2018, when Danze directed the contractor to transfer the money to the lawyer handling his election tribunal case.
A statement on Monday by the ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, titled, ‘ICPC arraigns Gwagwalada council chairman over N10m fraud,’ said Danze violated sections 8 (1)(a), 10 (a)(i), 18 (b) and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and is punishable under the relevant sections of the same Act.
One of the charges reads, “That you, Adamu Mustapha Danze on or about the month of March, 2018 at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, while being a public officer as the Executive Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council received the sum of N10m from Engineer Aremu Omotosho, the director of Remotosh Construction Limited for approving payment for the construction of double cell culvert at Paiko-Kore awarded to Remotosh Construction Limited by Gwagwalada Area Council, the sum you asked the contractor to transfer to your counsel defending you in the election tribunal and you thereby committed an offence contrary to
section 10 (a)(i) and punishable under section 10 (a)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
Danze, who had a bench warrant issued against him, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The warrant was subsequently dismissed by the trial judge after a plea by the defense counsel, Abdul Mohammed, (SAN).
Mohammed tendered an apology to the judge for failing to attend proceedings on two previous dates, blaming it on the recent kidnapping activities in Gwagwalada area council.
He told the court that the defendant was coordinating rescue operations in the area council, following the spate of kidnappings and other criminal activities in recent times.
He then moved a motion praying that the accused be admitted to bail at the discretion of the court pending trial.
Counsel to ICPC, Michael Adesola, in his counter-argument averred that the accused was very deliberate in his actions of ignoring court sittings as he was duly served all the proceedings since last year.
“Adesola, who also opposed the bail application prayed the court to remand the accused in a correctional facility to prevent him from interfering and intimidating witnesses, some of whom were employees in the area council,” the statement said.
Justice Kekemeke, having listened to both counsel, held that the defendant cannot jump bail based on his current position.
He said, “The defendant, who is the current Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council cannot evade his trial. He has nowhere to hide as I give him the benefit of doubt. The application therefore subsists. Bail is, therefore, granted to the defendant in the sum of N20m and a surety in like sum.:
According to the statement, “The surety shall be an owner of a landed property with statutory right of occupancy within the jurisdiction of the court or a Federal civil servant in the rank of an Assistant Director and above. The matter was then adjourned to March 1, 2022 for trial.”
The trial judge reportedly warned the accused not to take the court for granted, saying, “Mr Chairman, that is what you called yourself. We just gave you the benefit of the doubt. You don’t play with the court. You don’t take the court for levity, if you do that, you will find yourself in trouble.”