Soni Daniel – Abuja
Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court, sitting in Abuja has been told how Aliyu Yakubu, a former Revenue Officer with the Kano State zonal office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) siphoned electronic cards worth N20 million and replacing them with cardboards in order to deceive the agency.
Based on the discovery, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Yakubu on an eight-count charge, bordering on criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of funds and money laundering to the tune of N20 million.
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Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Aliyu Yakubu between January and December, 2010 in Abuja within the Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory while being a Revenue Officer with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Zona Office, Kano State and in such capacity entrusted with dominion over certain property to wit, a carton of e-facility cards of JAMB (containing 10,000 pieces of the cards) committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property when you disposed of the cards without duly rendering accounts of the disposals to JAMB and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code law”.
At the resumed trial on Tuesday, prosecuting witness and JAMB’s Kano State Zonal Coordinator, Karimatu Aminu Abubakar, told the court that Yakubu replaced the sealed e-facility cards with blank cardboard claiming that he was shortchanged by a bank worker, who collected the cards but she neither return them nor the money sold on behalf of JAMB. He said the defendant failed to report the incident to anybody because he thought he could handle the situation.
Abubakar recalls that, in 2016 she received a text message from the headquarters, asking her to report to Abuja with all the sold and unsold cards for reconciliation and because she wasn’t in possession of the cards, she called the former Revenue Officer who was on leave to release the materials because they were needed in Abuja for reconciliation.
She stated that the defendant handed over sealed 40 packs of supposed e-facility cards and another opened loosed e-facility cards, to her on a certain Friday.
According to her, she left Kano the following day with the materials in a ‘Ghana-must-go’ sack and headed for Abuja. She said at the reconciliation in Abuja head office, it was discovered that there were no JAMB cards but only blank cardboards in the cartons.
Upon the discovery, Aminu said the revenue officer was ordered to report to the headquarters the following Tuesday. She added that on the defendant’s arrival, he was interrogated and claimed that he was defrauded by a bank worker who collected the cards but never returned the unsold cards or remits the proceeds from the ones sold.
The prosecuting counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, however, tendered in evidence the alleged ‘Ghana- Must- Go’ sack containing the alleged blank cardboard before the court.
The defence counsel, M.L Garba, after cross-examining the witness, asked for a short adjournment to enable him to put his documents in order.
Justice Affen, however, granted his prayer and adjourned the case till February 6, 2020, for the continuation of trial.