Two Chinese, Meng Wei Kun and Xui Kuoi, were on Friday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Sokoto Zonal office, before Justice Mohammed Sa’idu Sifawa of the state High Court Sokoto on a two- count charge of conspiracy and offering bribe to a public servant to the tune of N100 million.
The duo were docked for allegedly offering to bribe the head of the Sokoto zonal office of the EFCC, Mr. Abdullahi Lawal, with the sum of N100 million, on behalf of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited, which is being investigated over contracts awarded it by the Zamfara State government to the tune of N50 billion between 2012 to 2019.
The EFCC is investigating the construction company in connection with the execution of contracts for the construction of township roads in Gummi, Bukkuyun, Anka and Nassarawa towns of Zamfara State; as well as the construction of 168 solar-powered boreholes in the 14 local government areas of the state.
The charge sheet reads, “That you, Mr. Meng Wei Kun and Mr. Xu Kuoi, sometimes in May 2020 at Kasarawa area, Airport Road, Sokoto, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice Sokoto State, agreed to do an illegal act, to wit; bribery and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 59 of the Sokoto State Penal Code Law, 2019 and Punishable under Section 60 (2) of the same Law.
“That you, Mr. Meng Wei Kun and Mr. Xu Kuoi, on the 11th of May 2020 at about 2200 hours at Kasarawa area, Airport Road, Sokoto, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice Sokoto State, being staff of China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited, offered a bribe of N50 million as inducement to one Abdullahi Lawal, a public servant, (Zonal Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Sokoto Zonal Office), in order to compromise an ongoing investigation involving your company with regard to various contracts award/execution in parts of Zamfara State and thereby committed an offence of offering bribe to a public servant contrary to Section 83 of the Sokoto State Penal Code Law, 2019 and Punishable under Section 83 (2) of the same Law.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them and following their plea, the prosecution counsel, Musa Mela Gwani, who appeared with Habila Jonathan, asked the court for a date to commence trial and prayed the court for an accelerated hearing.
Counsel to the defendants, A. A. Usman, however told the court that he had filed an application for bail for his clients and urged the court to grant his prayers.
Justice Sifawa adjourned the bail application hearing to May 18, 2020; while the date for the commencement of trial was fixed for June 15, 2020.
Trouble started for the two Chinese when they offered N100 million as bribe to Lawal, in a desperate bid to compromise ongoing investigations into how China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited handled contracts awarded by the Zamfara State government to the tune of N50 billion.