A Niger State High Court sitting in Minna has sentenced Mr. Lawal Idris Abdullahi to six years imprisonment for fraudulently receiving monthly emoluments from two Federal Government Agencies.
Mr. Abdullahi was arraigned before the acting Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Maria Sanda Zukogi, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a six-count charge bordering on making false statements to public officers, thereby contravening Sections 25 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and 122 of the Nigerian Penal Code and punishable under the same sections respectively.
The Commission had swung into investigation after receiving a petition on Abdullahi’s fraudulent and dishonest activities from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) where he was working and at the same time drawing monthly salary from the Federal Inspectorate Service, Minna, which is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Education.
Shortly after the commencement of his trial, Abdullahi’s solicitors notified the trial judge of their intention to explore the plea bargain option which was not opposed by ICPC’s prosecuting counsel, Mrs. O.O. Oluwadunsi and Mr. O. A. Obajunwon-Ogunlana.
Justice Zukogi, upon conclusion of the plea bargain and sentencing agreement, convicted and found Abdullahi guilty of all the counts in the charge brought against him after he had pleaded guilty on all counts. She therefore sentenced him to one year imprisonment on each of the counts which cumulated to six years that will run consecutively with the option of the payment of a fine of N40,000 only on each of the counts amounting to N240,000. Abdullahi was, in addition, bound and ordered to execute a bond in the sum of N100,000.00 to be of good behaviour for one year.
ICPC commends the Management of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for the courage of reporting this incident and other related offences like falsification of Academic certificates for investigation which has led to successful convictions. The Federal Ministries of Environment and Health and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps are such bodies that have instituted such mechanisms that have led to the successful prevention or prosecution of corrupt practices by staff or external fraudsters. We call on other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to emulate this growing trend of Institutions leading the Change Agenda from in-house and taking action as appropriate.
It is very disheartening to find some public servants being so unpatriotic as to deprive other citizens from job placements in the face of high unemployment by keeping multiple jobs. This conviction serves to highlight the consequences that await public servants who engage in duplicity in whatever form in their relationship with their employers as various anti-corruption strategies are beginning to bear fruit as evidenced by the deployment or fine-tuning of e-governance.