Yarima Arraigned Over N1bn Fraud

Former Zamfara state governor Ahmad Sani, otherwise known as Yarima, was charged to court yesterday on a 19-count-charge of corruption. He was charged before Justice Bello Shinkafi of High Court 4, in Gusau, the Zamfara state capital, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The commission accused him of diverting part of N1 billion project funds for other purposes. The fund was meant for the repair of the collapsed Gusau Dam and the resettlement of the victims displaced by flood waters. The money was obtained through a bank loan after it was approved by the State House of Assembly as additional budgetary allocation. Yarima, now a senator, was, among others, charged with embarking on N385.5 million extra budgetary spending. The offences were committed in 2006 and mainly in October and November of that year. The former governor was said to have spent the sum of N20 million purportedly on assistance to INEC; N10 million purportedly on donations; N43 million on surveillance of guest; N21 million on settlements. Others are N64 million on sponsorship of government officials on Hajj; N32 million on settlement of accommodation; N15 million on furniture allowance; N29 million on purchase of 2000 Nanfang motorcycles; sum of N23 million on payment to automobile company; N14 million on payment of auditing of account and N14 million on Ramadan Feeding. It said that the offence contravenes Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. Yarima on or about May 2007 used his position as governor  to confer corrupt advantage upon himself  by  awarding consultancy services to his company, Development Management  System Ltd,  for the supply of 50, 000 metric tons (200,000 bags) of grains by Zamfara State Government to the Federal Government. The contract included an  agreement to pay 10 % i.e. N161million of the total cost of N1.6 billion to Development Management Ltd as consultancy fee but for which only 9,181.89 metric tons (91, 818 bags) were supplied. It said the former governor paid Development Management Ltd N91, 840,000 whereas it was entitled only to N29, 565,685.80. It added that the company was overpaid by N62, 274,315 and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. Earlier, Yarima’s counsel, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji (SAN) had applied for bail arguing that the offences are bail-able. He said Yarima being a two term governor and a sitting senator would never jump bail. He added that the accused would be available throughout the trial. He said nowhere in the charge sheet was Yarima accused on suspected of diverting the said amount of money to his own personal use. All what is alleged is that he used the money to sponsor the citizens of the state to Hajj or feed them during Ramadan fasting and, therefore, he was entitled to bail according to the ICPC Act. The accused was granted bail in the sum of N100 million and two sureties each of whom must have property worth N150 million in Gusau and one of them must be a resident within Gusau town. The case has been adjourned to February 29 for hearing.

Credit: dailytrust

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