ICPC drags ex-governor Yerima to court over diversion of funds, abuse of office

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission  (ICPC) has dragged a former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Rufai Sani to court over abuse of office, diversion of funds, and illegal spendings during his tenure.

Sani, now a senator, left office as governor  nine years ago.

Popularly known as Yeriman Bakura, the former governor, according to the charges filed by the anticorruption agency at a state High Court in Zamfara, allegedly mismanaged N1billion loan meant for the repair of Gusau Dam in 2006, among other charges.

Yerima will stand trial alongside three others; Alhaji Hashim A. Dikko, Development Management Limited and HAD Nigeria Limited.

According to the ICPC, N425, 491,736.75 out of the N1billion was allegedly diverted to other purposes, including assistance to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), furniture allowance, consultancy fee, Ramadan feeding, Hajj and purchase of cars.

Investigation revealed that only N574, 508,263.25 was purportedly utilized for flood disaster related matters.

If convicted, he  is liable to a five years imprisonment without an option of fine

A source in ICPC told newsmen that all arrangements have been completed for the arraignment of the former governor on Thursday.

“This case has taken this long because we were painstaking in conducting our investigation. We hope he will make himself available for trial in line with the ICPC Act.

“We are charging him with offences contrary to and punishable under sections 19, 22 (1 and 5) and 26 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.” the source stated.

Section 19 of the act says: “Any public officer, who uses his office or position to gratify or confer any corrupt or unfair advantage upon himself or any relation or associate of the public officer or any other public officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for five years without option of fine.”

The charges against Sani are:

“on or about November, 2006 whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau spent money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of N1 billion additional budgetary allocation by Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and settlement of the victims of the said dam, which was obtained through a bank loan, spent the sum of N20m purportedly on assistance to INEC and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; on or about October 2006 spent N10million purportedly on donation and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;spent N43,008,000 purportedly on surveillance of guests and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;

*spent N21,450,000 purportedly on settlement of publication equipment and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;

*spent N64,332,734 purportedly on sponsorship of government officials to Hajj and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;

“Spent the sum of N32,646,286 purportedly on settlement of accommodation and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;spent N15,800,000 purportedly on furniture allowance and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000;spent N29,200,000 purportedly on purchase of 2000 Nanfang motorcycles and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; andthat Sani on or about October 2006 spent N23,859,692 purportedly on payment to automobile company and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

Sani is also accused of spending N14 million purportedly on payment of auditing of account and N14,170,000 purportedly on Ramadan feeding.

He is also to explain the spending of N14,530,000 (purportedly on purchase of four 406 Peugeot and N36,000,000  purportedly on settlement of leave grant for teachers.

Sani is similarly charged with spending N46,591,692.24 purportedly on school feeding.

“On or about February 2007 at Gusau made a statement vide a letter dated 6th February 2007 captioned “ OFFER FOR SALE OF EXCESS GRAINS” to the President Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in the course of the exercise of the duty of his office that Zamfara State Government had stock of about 100,000 metric tons of assorted grains in silos and stores out of which 50, 000 metric tons could be sold to the Federal Government “which was to your knowledge false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (1) (a) and punishable under section 68 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about May 2007 at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court used your position as the Governor of Zamfara State to confer corrupt advantage upon your associate to wit: awarding consultancy services to Development Management  System Ltd for the supply of 50,000 metric tons (200,000 bags) of grains by Zamfara State Government to the Federal Government with the agreement to pay 10 % i.e. N161million of the total cost of N1,610,000,000 (one billion, six hundred and ten million naira) to Development Management Ltd as consultancy fee but for which only 9,181.89 metric tons (91, 818 bags) were supplied and for which you paid Development Management Ltd N91,840,000 (ninety one million, eight hundred and forty thousand naira) whereas Development Management Ltd was entitled to only N29,565,685.80, thus overpaid her N62, 274,315 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“Sani, Alhaji Hashim A. Dikko and Development Management Ltd  on or about May 2007 at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire to commit an offence of using office for gratification to wit: Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about May 2007 used his position as the Governor of Zamfara State to award consultancy services to Development Management  System Ltd for the supply of 50,000 metric tons (200,000 bags) of grains by Zamfara State Government to the Federal Government with the agreement to pay 10 % i.e. N161million of the total cost of N1,610,000,000  to Development Management Ltd as consultancy fee but for which only 9,181.89 metric tons (91, 818 bags) were supplied and for which Development Management Ltd was paid N91,840,000  whereas Development Management Ltd was entitled only to N29,565,685.80  thus overpaid her the sum of N62, 274,315 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (c) and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

Sani is also charged with awarding contract for the transportation of 50,000 metric tons of grains (200,000 bags) to HAD Nigeria Ltd to be supplied by Zamfara State to the Federal Government at N1,610,000,000  with the agreement to pay N444, 040,000 to HAD Nigeria Ltd as contract sum but for which only 9, 181.89 metric tons (91,181 bags) were transported and for which HAD Nigeria Ltd was paid N98 million whereas she was entitled only to N81,042, 525,  thus overpaid her the sum of N16, 957,472. The offence is contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

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