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School feeding fraud: Court jails man 125 years over N12.9m scam

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One Allen Abel has been sentenced to 125 years imprisonment by Justice Aisha Kumaliya of the Borno State High Court for fraudulently defrauding a company, Lele Foresight Construction Company, to the tune of N12,879,800.

It was gathered that Abel defrauded the company on the pretext of executing a contract for the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under the school feeding scheme of the Social Intervention Programme of the Federal Government.

It was revealed that Abel was arraigned alongside Suleiman Adamu, Usman Adamu and Kingsley Madubuagu on July 2, 2020, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 20 counts bordering on forgery, possession of false documents, impersonation and obtaining by false pretences.

They pleaded guilty to the charges and Justice Kumaliya convicted them and adjourned till Wednesday, September 30, 2020, for sentencing.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Justice Kumaliya sentenced Abel to seven years’ imprisonment each on count one to six and count nine without an option of fine; five years’ imprisonment on each of count seven, eight and 11 to 20 without an option of fine. All sentences are to run consecutively.

The court, according to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, also ordered Abel to return the sum of N12,110,000 to Lele Foresight Construction Company and the sum of N769,800 to HIE Global Investment Limited.

One of the charges read, “That you, Allen Abel, Suleiman Adamu and Usman Adamu, sometime between February and March 2020 at Maiduguri, Borno State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, obtained 1,313 cartons of spaghetti and 480 bags of rice, both worth N12, 110,000 only from one Lelle Hyelwa Sini of Lelle Foresight Construction Company Limited under the false pretext 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), which you knew to be false, 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.”

Similarly, one Babagana Abatcha was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by Justice Umaru Fadawu of the Borno State High Court for fraud to the tune of N9m.

He was arraigned on one count of criminal breach of trust and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following his plea, the prosecution presented its witnesses and tendered several exhibits to prove its case.

Delivering his judgment on Wednesday, Justice Fadawu sentenced Abatcha to two years’ imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine.

The court also ordered the convict to pay N7.9m to the nominal complainant or, in default, serve six years’ imprisonment, which would run consecutively.

The charge read, “That you, Babagana Abatcha, sometime between 2017 and 2018 at Maiduguri, Borno State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being entrusted with care over certain propertyto wit; N9m by one Umar Gujja Ali, being payment for the execution of a purported contract awarded to you by a non-governmental organisation in Maiduguri, did dishonestly misappropriate the entire sum, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311of the Penal Code, Laws of Borno State, Cap. 102 Vol. 3 of 1994 and punishable under Section 312 of the same law.”

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