• ADB Bars China’s Zhonghao Limited For 18 Months
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Sokoto Zonal office, yesterday, arraigned the duo of Meng Wei Kun and Xui Kuoi, both Chinese, before Justice Mohammed Sa’idu Sifawa of the State High Court, Sokoto on a two-count charge of conspiracy and offering N100million bribe to a public servant.
The defendants were docked for allegedly offering to bribe the EFCC Sokoto Zonal Head, Mr. Abdullahi Lawal, with the amount on behalf of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited, which is being investigated over contracts awarded it by the Zamfara State Government in the sum of over N50billion between 2012 and 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 Nasarawa towns and also the construction of 168 solar-powered boreholes in the 14 councils of the state.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them. Prosecution Counsel, Musa Mela Gwani, asked for a date to commence trial and prayed the court for an accelerated hearing.
However, Counsel to the defendants, A. A. Usman, told the court that he had filed an application of bail for his clients and urged the court to grant his prayers.
Justice Sifawa adjourned the matter to May 18, this year for bail hearing and June 15 for commencement of trial.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (ADB) has barred China Zhonghao Limited, employer of two Chinese, for 18 months for fraudulent practices. A statement yesterday in Abuja by EFFC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, said the firm was barred for fraudulently misrepresenting its year of incorporation, value of its reference contracts and cognate experience of its key personnel while bidding for two tenders under ADB-financed Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project for Oyo and Taraba states.
He added that the development shuts out or excludes a company, an individual or an entity from certain rights, privileges or possessions owing to allegations of fraud, mismanagement or impropriety.
Oyewole disclosed that reports available to the Commission showed that ADB’s office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that the firm committed the fraudulent deals and barred it from participating in projects financed by the bank for a period of 18 months.
“Aside the 18 months exclusion from the bank-financed projects, China Zhonghao stands debarred by other multilateral development banks, like the World Bank group; Asian Development Bank; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank, owing to Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions among the banks,” he stated.