By Michael Olugbode
A man has been jailed to a cumulative 125 years in prison by a Borno State High Court in Maiduguri for fraudulently obtaining food items worth N12.9 million.
The accused, Allen Abel, was dragged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for fraudulently obtaining food items valued at N12.9 million on the pretext of executing a fake contract for the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD)’s School Feeding scheme under the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) of the federal government.
Abel was arraigned before Justice Aisha Kumaliya on July 2, 2020, along with Suleiman Adamu, Usman Adamu and Kingsley Madubuagu by the Maiduguri zonal office of the commission on a 20-count charge that borders on forgery, possession of false documents, impersonation and obtaining by false pretence.
The count three of the charge read: “That you, Allen Abel, Suleiman Adamu and Usman Adamu sometimes between February and March 2020 in Maiduguri, within the jurisdiction of this court with the intent to defraud, obtained 1,313 cartons of spaghetti and 480 bags of rice both worth N12, 110,000.00 (Twelve Million One Hundred Ten Thousand Naira) only from one Lelle Hyelwa Sini of Lelle Foresight Construction Co. Limited under the false pretence of executing a contract of supply of food items, purportedly awarded by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development (Federal Government School Feeding Programme, under the Social Intervention Programme (SIP), which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
Abel pleaded guilty to the 20-count charges upon arraignment, and Justice Kumaliya convicted him accordingly, and adjourned the case to September 30, 2020, for sentencing.
At the resumption of hearing yesterday, Justice Kumaliya sentenced Abel to seven years imprisonment each on counts one to six, and nine without an option of fine; five years imprisonment each on counts seven, eight and 11 to 20 respectively, without an option of fine. All sentences are to run consecutively.
The judge, in addition, asked the convict to restitute Lele Foresight Construction Company the total sum of N12.1 million and HIE Global Investment Limited the sum of N769, 800.
In another development, Justice Umaru Fadawu of the Borno State High Court in Maiduguri has sentenced one Babagana Abatcha to two years imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine.
The convict was arraigned by EFCC in Maiduguri on one-count charge of criminal breach of trust to the tune of N9 million.
Upon his arraignment, the convict pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge, which prompted the prosecution to present witnesses and tendered several exhibits in proving its case.
Delivering his judgment yesterday, Justice Fadawu sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment with an option of N500, 000 fine.
The court further ordered the convict to pay N7.9 million in restitution to the nominal complainant, or in default, serve six years imprisonment with the years running consecutively.