The Bayelsa State High Court has convicted Professor Saviour Nathan Agoro, former Provost of the Isaac Jasper College of Education, Sagbama in Bayelsa State, over contract fraud amounting to N285 million.
The Professor was convicted alongside the former accountant of the institution, Perez Friday Lakemfa, and were charged under section 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 for having interest in and coffering corrupt advantage on themselves and relations as a result of contracts that were awarded by the College.
A statement today, November 23 by the spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, said that one of the charges read: “That you, Professor Saviour Nathan Agoro (M), on or about the 28th day of November, 2014, in Sagbama, while being a Public Officer to wit: the Provost and Chief Executive of Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, knowingly acquired direct private interest in a contract otherwise than as a member of a registered joint stock company consisting of more than twenty (20) persons when he awarded a contract for the Furnishing of One Storey Lecturers’ Offices to Neatmosa Integrated Services Limited, a company in which he is a Director for the sum of N47,115,915.00 under the 2013 and 2014 merged Tetfund Normal Intervention program, and which emanated from Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, where he is the Provost and Chief Executive Officer.”
The statement said that in the twelve-count charge against the defendants, the judge, Justice D.E Adekeme found Professor Agoro guilty on count 1, 5 to 12 while the second defendant, Perez Lakemfa was found guilty on count 2 to 4 of the charges.
Justice Adekeme thereafter pronounced non-custodian sentences on the two defendants based on the charges. The first defendant, (Professor Agoro) was given an option of fine of One Million Naira while the second defendant, (Lakemfa) was given an option of fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira.
ICPC’s prosecutors, Mrs. Peace Arocha and Dr. Agada Akogu had told the court in the course of the trial that the Commission had in May 2017, received a petition alleging that Professor Agoro personalized Tetfund funds by awarding contracts to his company and companies owned by his relatives between the year 2012 and 2014 with flagrant abuse of due process and public procurement rules.
The statement said that in the course of investigation, ICPC discovered that the contract for the construction of language laboratory and music studio was awarded to Nancydor Ekperi & Sons Co. Ltd., owned by a friend of the former Provost and former Accountant, Mr. Lakemfa.
“Other contracts for constructions and supplies were also found to have been awarded to companies owned by family members of the convicts.”