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Court remands prison controller over employment scam

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina State has ordered that a Deputy Comptroller of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Abubakar Sani, be remanded in prison on a six-count charge over alleged conspiracy and obtaining by false pretense.

The defendant was alleged to have used his position as an officer of the Katsina Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service (as it then was) and obtained N2.8 million from some persons under the guise of helping them secure employment into the Prison Service.

On Friday when Sani was arraigned by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Hadiza Shagari, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegations leveled against him.

After pleading not guilty to the six-count charge , Shagari ruled that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter till December 1, 2020 for hearing of the bail application.

The charge against the defendant read that you, “ Abubakar Mohammed Sani while being Deputy Comptroller of the Nigerian Prison Service (now Nigerian Correctional Service) on or about 20 December, 2012 in Katsina within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N305,000 (Three Hundred and Five Thousand Naira Only) which you caused to be deposited into your UBA account number 2030252055 under the pretense of securing a job for Umar Himma, Surajo Ibrahim and Abubakar Gambo in the Nigerian Prison Service now (Nigerian Correctional Service), which pretense you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offense contrary to section 1(1)(a) and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advance Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006”.

Upon receipt of the complaints against the Officer, the Commission swung into action by inviting him but the defendant was evasive until August 26, 2020, when he finally reported. After questioning, he was granted administrative bail on self recognizance which he later abused and absconded. Consequently, his arraignment was twice adjourned due to his absence in court.

On Wednesday November 11, 2020, operatives of the Commission tracked and arrested him in Abuja after which he was moved to the Kano Office of the Commission.

During court proceedings, the prosecuting counsel, Usman Shehu requested the court for a trial date. But, the defense counsel, G.U Jafaru, applied to move a motion for bail on behalf of the defendant. The court allowed the motion as the prosecution had already filed a 12-paragraph counter-affidavit, opposing the bail application.

The court, however, sought to know if the defense counsel had filed a further affidavit in response to the prosecution’s counter-affidavit. He said he did but the prosecuting counsel informed the court that he had not been served with the further affidavit.

Consequently, the court ruled that the motion was not ripe for hearing until all correspondence are before the court.

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