The Sokoto Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested two Chinese nationals, Meng Kun and Xu Koi, for allegedly offering N100 million as bribe to its zonal head, Abdullahi Lawal.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Tuesday, the suspects were arrested on Monday in Sokoto, with the cash as an evidence.
The accused persons could not immediately reached for comments.
The commission said the bribe was allegedly offered in a bid to compromise ongoing investigations of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd, handling contracts awarded by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 to 2019.
The agency said its zonal office had since commenced investigation into the construction company in connection with the execution of contracts awarded for the construction of township roads in Gummi, Bukkuyun, Anka and Nassarawa towns of Zamfara State.
Similarly, an investigation was launched into the construction of 168 solar-powered boreholes in the 14 local government areas of the state.
The EFCC said the investigation followed intelligence on alleged conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering against Zamfara State officials wherein the construction company had reportedly received payments of over N41billion “but diverted about N16 billion which the commission has traced to some bureau de change operators”.
“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.
“In a grand design to trap the corrupt officials, Lawal played along and on Monday, two representatives of the company, Meng Wei Kun and Xu Kuoi, offered him cash totaling N50 million in their office along Airport Road, Sokoto. The cash was offered as a first installment.
“Investigation of the construction company was informed by an 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.
“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 of over $53 million was allegedly diverted and traced to some bureau de change operators,” the commission said.
The EFCC said the suspects would soon be charged to court.