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N1b payroll contract fraud: Court jails 2 Accountant General officials for 105 years

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja , on Monday sentenced two former top officials in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to 105 years imprisonment for contract fraud and abuse of office.

The two men- Mohammed Dogonyaro Audu (also known as Abdullahi Dogonyaro Mohammed) and Yahaya Ayodeji, were arrested and tried in court by the EFCC.

The breakdown of the jail sentences shows that Audu, who was convicted of the 10-count charge, will spend 70 years in prison while his co-traveller, Ayodeji, who was found culpable on five counts, will serve 35 years in jail.

The court presided over by Justice Yusuf Halilu, found them guilty of a 10-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and complicity in award of contract to the tune of N1billion to themselves.

The two former directors according to the prosecution, abused their offices by floating private companies which they used in cornering the N1 billion contracts emanating from the Economic Reforms and Governance Project, ERGP, and Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS, domiciled in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

Both Audu and Ayodeji had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were arraigned on May 26, 2015, thereby setting the stage for their trial.

In the course of the trial, counsel to the EFCC, Cosmas Ugwu, presented three witnesses and tendered relevant documents against the suspects, which were all admitted in evidence.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Halilu said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt adding that, as public servants, the convicts abused their offices.

“I am not expected to remove or add anything before me. They (Audu and Ayodeji) took advantage of their offices and did what they did. For me, I do what my conscience and the law directs me to do”, the judge ruled.

He thereafter found Audu guilty on counts 1 to 10 and sentenced him to seven years on each count without an option of fine. Ayodeji was found guilty on counts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 9 and also sentenced to seven years on each count.

The sentences are to run concurrently.


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