Former House of Reps Speaker, Dimeji Bankole faces fresh trial

Embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, yesterday, moved to avert his possible re-arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an amended 16-count criminal charge bordering on contract inflation and abuse of office.

It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had on June 7, 2011, docked the ex-speaker before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on allegation that he connived with some persons at large to defraud the Federal Government to the tune of N894million.

EFCC, through its prosecuting counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo, alleged that Bankole rigged bid for the purchase of three units of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars, two units of Range Rover vehicles (without bullet proofs) and 400 units of DSTV systems, by refusing to follow procedures prescribed for public procurements in Sections 17 to 56 of the Public Procurement Act No.14 of 2007.

It insisted that the action constituted an offence contrary to Section 58(4) (e) of the Public Procurement Act, No.14 of 2007 and punishable under Section 58(5) of the same Act.

EFCC further told the trial court that some of the illicit contracts through which monies were pilfered by the accused person, included the purchase of 400 units of 40-inch Samsung (LNS. 341) television sets, 800 units of Desktop Computers (HP Compaq dc 5700), 100 units of Sharp Digital Copier 5316, 400 units of HP LaserJet 2600N, among others.

Nevertheless, though hearing had already commenced in the matter with so many evidences adduced and witnesses called to testify before the trial court, however, the criminal proceeding is set to commence de-novo (afresh) following the sudden transfer of the judge presiding over the case.