Justifying 70 years Jail Term For Ex-Kebbi State Accountant General Who Stole N1.3 billion

By BnF News Online

The Court of Appeal on Friday slammed a 70 years jail tern on a former Accountant -General of Kebbi State, Mohammed Arzika Dakingari, for using his time in office to steal the sum of N1.3 billion from the public coffers. 

Mr Dakingari, Kebbi State's former Accountant General
Dakingari who was earlier acquited of the same charge by a lower court was said to have used a pseudo construction firm that belonged to him to perpetrate the theft through the awards of lousy contracts that benefits only him. 

While Dakingari was freed by the High court, his company's manager, Musa Yusuf was given a six month jail term. 

The 70 years prison time for the AG was greeted by mixed reaction. many Nigerians felt justice may have been served,. But some others - perhaps friends or his ilk felt it was unjustifiable for a former public servant to be so punished.  

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Kebbi state is the second poorest state in Nigeria with 72 percent of its citizenry wallowing in the deep ridges of poverty.  

The N1.3 billion stolen by the convicted accountant general was exactly the sum the state budgeted for its Solid minerals development in its 2016 budget, and much higher than the N1 billion the state earmarked in the same budget for its varoius youth empowerment programmes.

The Kebbi Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday had to quash the favourable  judgment earlier gotten by Mr Dakingari from the Kebbi State High Court which discharged and acquitted him.

The former accountant general was dragged before the courts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (EFCC) who obtained copious evidence that Mr Dakingari had used his office to criminally enrich himself. 

Mr Dakingari was  charged alongside one Musa Yusuf who was the Managing Director of the Accountant General's construction company (Beal Construction Nigeria Limited) which was used as a conduit in siphoning the Kebbi taxpayer's money. 

EFCC's Head of Media and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren, made this known in a statement issued to the press.  

“Dakingari’s stake in Beal Construction Limited was contrary to civil service regulation which forbids serving officers from owning businesses”, the statement said.

“Findings by the EFCC at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, showed that Mohammed Bashir Mohammed, Anwal Sadat and Nasir Mohammed, all sons of the ex-accountant-general, are directors of the company (Beal Construction), while two of his brothers, Abduallahi Mohammed and Habibu Mohammed are the other directors.

“The construction company operates two accounts at Ecobank and Unity Bank with Dakingari and Yusuf as signatories to the accounts.

‘However, Dakingari was discovered to operate with two signatures, one in his official capacity as Accountant-Gneral of the state and the other as the owner of Beal Construction Company Limited.

“Analysis of the accounts revealed a total inflow of N1.3billion between May 2012 and September 2013, with most of the receipts coming from the Office of the Accountant-General and the Kebbi State Ministry of Finance.

“Some of the contracts executed for the state for which Beal Construction Company received huge payments included the supply of furniture to 66 secondary schools in Kebbi State valued at N987million; the connection of water and drainage system at Kebbi Central Mosque valued at N110million and the building and partitioning of Mohammed Maira Secondary School valued at N247million.

“Upon the conclusion of investigation, the EFCC filed a 20-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and abuse of office against Dakingari and Yusuf.

“The trial court in its determination of the case convicted and sentenced Yusuf to six months imprisonment while it discharged and acquitted Dakingari.

“Dissatisfied, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal, asking it to set aside the judgment of the lower court and convict Dakingari as charged.

“The appellate court in its well-considered judgment allowed the appeal by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced Dakingari to seven years imprisonment each on 10 of the counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency".

He said the sentence is to run concurrently.


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