The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 arraigned the duo of Mustapha Haman Gabdo, former Taraba Health Commissioner and Joshua Augustine, former Special Adviser on revenue matters before Justice F. B. Andetur of the State High Court, Jalingo, Taraba State on a 3-count charge bordering on criminal diversion of public funds to the tune of N13,672,580.00 (thirteen million, six hundred and seventy two thousand, five hundred and eighty naira).
The petitioner, Danjuma Philip, alleged that, the Federal Government sometime in 2012 assisted the State with the sum of N400million (four hundred million naira) for the procurement of relief materials for victims of 2012 flood disaster in the State.
In a bid to have the materials purchased, the State Government constituted two committees: Procurement Sub-Committee “A” & “B” headed by Augustine and Gabdo respectively.
According to the petitioner, out of the N400 million, N300 million was released and disbursed to the two committees.
He further stated that, the first accused person (Augustine) as the procurement secretary to “Committee A” collected N214,795,870.00 (two hundred and fourteen million, seven hundred and ninety five thousand, eight hundred and seventy naira) and subsequently converted N5,452,580,00 (five million, four hundred fifty two thousand, five hundred and eighty naira) to personal use. Also, the second accused person (Gabdo), chairman procurement “Sub-Committee B’ collected N81,994,050.00 (eighty one million, nine hundred and ninety four thousand, fifty naira) and in a similar fashion pocketed N8,235,000.00 (eight million, two hundred and thirty five thousand naira).
The offence is contrary to Section 312 of the Penal Code Law of Taraba State.
Particulars of one of the counts read:
“Mustapha Haman Gabdo, at all material times relevant to this case being the Chairman of procurement sub- committee ‘B’ ( for Southern Zone) set up by the Taraba State government for procuring relief materials the victims of the 2012 flood disaster in the State, between 19th and 24th October, 2012 dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N8,235,000.00 (eight million, two hundred and thirty five thousand naira) only out of the total sum of N81,994,050
(eighty one million, nine hundred and ninety four thousand, fifty naira) only released to you for the purpose of purchasing relief materials for the victims of 2012 flood disaster for Southern Zone of Taraba State in violation of the directives given to you by the Taraba State government.”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.
In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, F. A. Jibo asked the court to fix a date for trial.
However, E. A. Nyaro and J. A. Oguche representing the first and the second accused persons respectively prayed the court to admit their clients to bail adding that they are presumed innocent until proven guilty by competent court of law.
Justice Andetur granted the first accused person (Augustine) bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties who must have landed properties worth N5 million within the jurisdiction of the court while the second accused (Gabdo) was admitted to bail in the sum of N8million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must also have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court. The second accused person is to deposit N500,000.00 (five hundred thousand naira) with the court registrar.
The case has been adjourned to April 19, 20 and 21, 2016 for trial.
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