The former chairman Gombe Wtate Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Atiku Mu’azu Bayum, and three other principal officers of the board were on Thursday arraigned before Justice Beatrice Iliya of Gombe State High Court 3 on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and theft.
According to a statement released to media by Malam Muhammad Bajoga, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of The Gombe zonal office of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the convicts in their capacities as Chairman, Chief Store Officer, Chief Accountant and Director, conspired and stole the sum of 25.060 million naira belonging to the Government of Gombe State.
“Investigation revealed some documents, including several receipts, attached to payment vouchers for which payments were released and converted to their personal use in the cause of their duties,” Bajoga said.
Count one of the charge 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 Honorable 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 Nigeri.”
The second count 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 Honorable 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 Nigeri.”
Bajoga added that they all pleaded guilty to both the charge read against them. In view of the development, the prosecution counsel O. Israel urged the court to convict them accordingly.
However, defence counsel L. A Haruna pleaded on behalf of his client for justice to be tempered with mercy as the convicted were first time offenders and didn’t waste the time of the court and pleaded guilty on the day of their arraignment, noting that they had made restitution and intended to fully restore the whole amount.
In her judgment, Justice Biatrice pronounced the accused guilty and convicted them to pay fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N150,000) each following the statement by the defense counsel. The trial judge ordered the convicts to recompense the remaining amount to the treasury of the state government within six months.