Nigeria: Top civil servant sent to prison over land scam, another docked for N8.8m job scam
London, Dec. 18, 2018 (AltAfrica)-A Deputy Director with the Federal Government of Nigeria Property Alienation Committee, Mr Patrick Pillar has been sentenced to jail term by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 14, Jabi, presided over by Honourable Justice Danlami Senchi, for fraudulently converting a plot of land belonging to another person to use by his relations and associates.
Mr. Pillah was charged to court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on three counts, one of which was conferring corrupt advantage upon himself by virtue of the office he was occupying in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
The Commission, in the charge sheet, told the court that Pillah, in July 2000, used his position as a public officer in AMAC to confer corrupt advantage upon his relations and associates by transferring the title document for plot SS1 Jikwoyi Extension 111, to an unregistered company, Pax Education Resources belonging to them.
Counsel to ICPC, Adesola Michael told the court that the offence violated Sections 19 and 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 19 of the same Act.
One of the counts against him reads: “That you Patrick Pillah, on or about the month of July 2000 at Abuja while being a public officer in Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abuja, as Secretary of Committee of Resolution of Disputes involving land and Zonal Land Manager respectively used your said office to confer corrupt advantage upon relations and associates of Patrick Pillah by causing title documents of plot SS1 Jikwoyi Extension 111, to be issued in favour of Pax Education Resources an unregistered company belonging to Patrick Pillah’s relations and associates and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The trial judge, Hon. Senchi, while delivering his judgment, found the accused guilty of the charge and therefore sentenced him to one month in jail without an option of fine. He also ruled that the land be returned to the original owner.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has also charged a Deputy Director with the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mr. Ahmad Balarabe to court for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting job seekers of N8.8 million.
The Commission, in a two-count charge brought before Justice Bello Shinkafi, of the Zamfara State High Court, Gusau, said that Mr. Balarabe fraudulently collected huge sums of money from job seekers with a promise to employ them into the services of the Federal University, Gusau and other federal government agencies.
According to the Commission spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, ICPC informed the court that the accused, while acting as the State Coordinator, FCC, in October, 2014, collected the N8.8 million from several job seekers including N970, 000.00 from one Lawali Sule Garba and his friends as financial commitment for processing their employments.
According to the Commission, his offence violates Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2004 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
One of the counts against him reads, “That you, Ahmad Balarabe, in October 2014 or thereabouts at Gusau, Zamfara State, whilst being the State Coordinator, Federal Character Commission, with the intent to defraud, did obtain by false pretense, the sum of N7,700,000.00 from unsuspecting job seekers under the guise of securing employment for them into the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1)(a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2004”.
The Deputy Director who now heads Public Enlightenment, Media and Mobilisation Department of FCC, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him and his counsel, A. Abubakar, urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
Counsel to ICPC, Mashkur Salisu, while agreeing that the accused be released on bail, urged the court to be mindful of the penalties for the offence which is a maximum of twenty years imprisonment.
He therefore prayed the court to ensure that the accused provided reasonable surety in line with the provisions of the law before he would be admitted to bail.
The trial Judge, while ruling on the bail application, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, the Judge said must have landed property in Gusau, valued at N30 million each.
The bail conditions also required the accused to submit his international passport with the court.
Justice Bello further ruled that Balarabe should be remanded in the Gusau Central Prison, pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.