By Yekeen Nurudeen
A principal accountant with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, Abuja, Wali Muktar Usman, the director of works, Federal College of Education, Gombe, Yunusa Yakubu, and an architect are in the net of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over a contract scam to the tune of N623 million.
The trio have already been charged to court, alongside Lubell Nigeria Limited and Archfirst Nigeria limited, companies owned by Yakubu for a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, contract scam, abuse of office and diversion of public funds.
They were arraigned on Monday before Justice Sa’ad Muhammad of the Gombe State High Court.
A statement issued by the Spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren said the three persons allegedly abused their positions by awarding inflated TETFUND contracts to companies in which they had interest or which belong to their cronies, and receiving gratification from contractors.
Uwujaren in the statement disclosed that, Ibrahim, allegedly received various sums of money as gratification from Yakubu for contract awarded to his company Lubell Nigeria Limited in Gombe State University.
He added that Usman, the present director of works Federal College of Education Gombe is the sole signatory and promoter of Archfirst Nigeria Limited, a clear violation of public service regulation which forbids ownership of private businesses by serving public officers.
“A number of transactions by the accused persons were also traced to the accounts of Murtala Salisu, the acting director of works, Gombe State University in different banks” he said .
Uwujaren said the count three of the charges against them reads, “That you, Auwal Ibrahim, being a public officer working at TETFUND in such capacity sometime in February 2015, on account of TETFUND contract, funded by your office and executed by Lubell Nigeria Limited at Gombe State University in Gombe, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did received for your self monetary benefit of =N=143, 122, 174.02 (One Hundred and Forty Three Million, One Hundred and Twenty Two Thousand, One Hundred and Seventy Four Naira, Two Kobo) through a First Bank Account No.2026950260 belonging to Double Espresso Ltd, a limited liability company which you have interest therein from the said Lubell Nigeria Ltd (contractor) thereby committed an offence contrary to and Punishable under Section 10 (i)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000”.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them. In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel Abubakar Aliyu applied for a date for trial.
The case, according to the statement has been adjourned till 20 June, 2017 while Justice Muhammed also granted bail to all the accused persons in the sum of N10 million each and two sureties in like sums. The sureties must have landed property with Certificate of Occupancy within the jurisdiction of the court.