Sunday, April 18, 2021

Nigeria: Two Chinese nationals arrested for offering $128,000 bribe to anti-graft officer


The  Sokoto Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC,  has arrested two Chinese:  Messrs Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi for offering  N50 million bribe to its Zonal Head, Mr Abdullahi Lawal, to compromise ongoing probe into the abandonment of a 50 billion naira road project by a Chinese firm.

The suspects, who are top officials of China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited, were arrested on Monday,  May 11,  2020, in Sokoto by EFCC operatives in a sting operation.

According to EFCC Spokesman, Dele Oyewale, the cash bribe was offered in a desperate bid to compromise ongoing investigations of a construction company,  China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd,  handling 50 billion contracts awarded by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 to 2019.

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In particular, EFCC is probing 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.

It was however reported that being alarmed by the consistency and professionalism of investigation being conducted, the company reached out to  Lawal with an offer of  N100 million as bribe to “bury” the matter.

But the  EFCC top official opted to play along with the Chinese n a grand design to trap them and caught them right in the act as the two representatives of the company Meng Wei Kun and  Xu Kuoi offered him the N50 million in their office along Airport Road,  Sokoto as a first instalment of the N100 million offer.

But the two suspects were promptly arrested with the cash as evidence.

The Commission said on Wednesday: “Investigation of the construction company was informed by intelligence on alleged conspiracy;  misappropriation of public funds;  embezzlement;  official corruption;  abuse of office, stealing and money laundering obtained against the Zamfara state government through inflated and uncompleted contracts awarded to the company.

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“Investigations have so far revealed that China Zounghao Ltd has received payments of over N41 billion from the Zamfara state government, out of which about N16 billion equivalent to over $53 million was allegedly diverted and traced to some bureau de change operators “The suspects would soon be charged to court,” Oyewale said.

($1 = N390.98)

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