The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Gombe Zonal office, has secured the conviction of Mr. Atiku Mu’azu Bayum, Mohammed Adi, Ibrahim Abubakar and Abubakar Usman on two charges bordering on conspiracy and theft before Justice Beatrice Iliya of High Court 3, Gombe State, Nigeria.
The convicts in their capacities as Chairman, Chief Store Officer, Chief Accountant and Director of the Gombe State Board of Internal Revenue conspired and stole the sum of #25, 060, 000.00, belonging to the State Government.
Investigation revealed some documents includes several receipts attached to payment vouchers for which payments were released and converted to their personal use in the cause of their duties.
When the investigation was concluded, however, they were charged to State High Court Gombe and the matter was slated for arraignment on Thursday (today) in order to take their plea.
One of the charges read, “That you Atiku Mu’azu Bayum, Mohammed Adi, Ibrahim Abubakar and Abubakar Usman sometimes between January 2014 and July 2015 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did agree among yourselves to commit an illegal act to wit Criminal Conspiracy and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 96 and 97 of the Penal Code Law, Laws of Northern Nigeria”.
Count two read, “That you Atiku Mu’azu Bayum, Mohammed Adi, Ibrahim Abubakar and Abubakar Usman sometimes between January and July 2015 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent did dishonestly commit theft to wit: fraudulently convert the sum of Twenty Five Million, Sixty Thousand Naira ( N25, 060, 000.00) property of Gombe State Government and thereby committed an offence contrary to and Punishable under Section 286 and 287 of the Penal Code Law, Laws of Northern Nigeria.”
They all pleaded guilty to both charges. In view of their admission of guilt, the prosecution counsel, O. Israel urged the court to convict them accordingly.
The Defence counsel, L. A Haruna on his part pleaded on behalf of his clients for the court to temper justice with mercy as the convicts were first-time offenders and didn’t waste the precious time of the court as they pleaded guilty on the day of their arraignment and that they had made some restitution and intended to fully restitute the whole amount.
In her judgement, Justice Beatrice pronounced them guilty and convicted them. She ordered them to pay a fine of N100,000 each following the allocutus by the defence counsel.
However, the trial Judge ordered the convicts to restitute the remaining amount to Gombe State Government within six months.
By Dominic C. Odoh
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