The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned the Provost, Federal College of Horticulture, Dadinkowa, Gombe, Prof. Fatima Sawa, and two others before a Federal High Court sitting in the state for alleged N52m fraud.
The Public Relations Officer, Gombe Zonal Office of the EFCC, Bello Bajoga, disclosed this in a statement made available to Northern City News on Thursday.
According to him, the three were arraigned before Justice N. I. Afolabi on four counts bordering on conspiracy, concealment of illicit origin of funds and fraud.
Bajoga said the defendants, Prof. Fatima B. J. Sawa, Umar Modibbo and Abdurrashid Abubabakar, allegedly used their positions as provost, expenditure officer, and bursar, respectively to conspire among themselves and transfer the sum of N52, 444, 097.06 from the institution’s account domiciled in one of the new generation banks by using the GIFMIS payment platform without justification.
The statement read in part, “However, investigations carried out by the commission revealed that the amount in question was transferred to one company called Freeman ICT Hub in one instalment and the company did not deserve to receive that payment as no service was rendered by the company to the institution.
“Count three of the charge read, ‘That you Fatima B. J. Sawa, Umar Modibbo and Abdurrasheed Abubakar, sometime in December 2017 in Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court in your capacities as provost, expenditure officer and bursar, respectively of the Federal College of Horticulture, Dadinkowa, with intent to defraud, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit; attempt to obtain the sum of N52, 444, 097.06 under false pretences, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 8 (a) and Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.”
He said that when the case was mentioned in court, the prosecution counsel, Ndeh Godspower, urged the court to take the plea of the defendants and the court obliged.
According to the anti-graft agency’s spokesman, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He added that the prosecution, in view of the plea of the defendants, applied for a trial date and urged the court to remand them in prison custody.
Bajoga said while adjourning the case till January 17, 2019 for definite hearing, Justice Afolabi granted all the defendants bail in the sum of N60m with two sureties each in like sum.
The judge added that the sureties must be a resident in Gombe State, have landed properties with Certificates of Occupancy and one of the sureties must be a blood relation of each of the defendants.