Ex-Council boss bags two-year jail term

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has secured a two-year jail term against a former Chairman of Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia, Mr Goddy N. Kanu.

The Commission also secured a one-year jail term against Mr. Ephraim M. Iroakazi, a political associate of Mr. Kanu. Both were charged to court on a 10-count charge bordering on abuse of office and criminal conspiracy.

The judgment was handed down to the duo by Justice Onuoha. A. Ogwe of the Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia.

ICPC had in 2010, taken the ex-council boss to court for conferring an unfair advantage upon an associate, engagement in a criminal conspiracy, failure to report the solicitation of gratification and other sundry offences.

During the trial, ICPC counsel led by Gogodaye P. West revealed that in 2008, the Umuahia Local Government through its executive arm approved the purchase of three (3) assorted vehicles for the use of the Council at the cost of eight million, five hundred thousand naira (N8, 500,000. 00) with a stipulation that the cars be purchased by the Motor Transport Officer of the Council by direct labour.

Consequently, rather than follow the stipulation, Mr Goddy Kanu, who was the Chairman of the Council circumvented the process by giving the contract for the supply of the vehicles to his “political godfather”, Mr Iroakazi who was neither an employee of the Council nor a registered contractor.

Less than three months after the first purchase of the vehicles was approved, the Local Government granted another approval for the purchase of 20 vehicles for the Council to the tune of sixty million naira (N60, 000, 000. 00).

In this instance, Mr. Kanu also circumvented the conditions for the purchase of the vehicles by giving the contract for the supply to his associate, Mr Iroakazi.
Instead of purchasing the vehicles according to specifications, the political “godfather” of the erstwhile Chairman allegedly used thirty million naira (N30, 000, 000. 00) out of the 60 million naira (N60, 000, 000. 00) released to him to supply 18 fairly used vehicles that fell short of the specifications of the Council.

Also, in the course of investigations, ICPC operatives discovered that, out of the balance of 30 million naira (N30, 000, 000. 00) for the purchase of the second set of vehicles, Mr Kanu received twenty million naira (N20, 000, 000. 00) from his friend for the purported maintenance of his political party while ten million naira was offered to Councillors as gratification.

In his final judgement, Justice Ogwe sentenced Kanu to two years imprisonment on each of the counts preferred against him and the jail terms would run concurrently with the option of a fine of three million naira only.
While Iroakazi was sentenced to one year imprisonment on each of the counts preferred against him, which would run concurrently or option of a fine of two million naira only.

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