The Court of Appeal, Kebbi Division, has sentenced a former Kebbi State Accountant-General, Mohammed Dakingari, to seventy years in prison for N1.6bn fraud. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on each of the ten counts preferred against him.
The appellate court upturned the judgment of a Kebbi State High Court which discharged and acquitted Dakingari on charges of conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences preferred against him and one other by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former convict and others used his office as the Accountant-General for personal enrichment to the tune of N1.6bn, according to the court.
Dakingari was charged alongside Musa Yusuf, the Managing Director, Beal Construction Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Dakingari and used in awarding various contracts to himself.
The convict’s stake in Beal Construction Limited is contrary to civil service regulation which forbids serving officers from owning businesses.
The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, that findings at the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that Bashir Mohammed, Anwal Sadat and Nasir Mohammed, all sons of the accountant-general, are directors of the company (Beal Construction), while two of his brothers, Abduallahi Mohammed and Habibu Mohammed, are the other directors.
The statement added, “The construction company operates two accounts at Ecobank and Unity Bank, with Dakingari and Yusuf as signatories to the accounts. However, Dakingari was discovered to operate with two signatures, one in his official capacity as accountant-general of the state and the other as the owner of Beal Construction Company Limited.
“Analysis of the accounts revealed a total inflow of N1.3bn between May 2012 and September 2013, with most of the receipts coming from the Office of the Accountant-General and the Kebbi State Ministry of Finance.
“Some of the contracts executed for the state for which Beal Construction Company received huge payments included the supply of furniture to 66 secondary schools in Kebbi State valued at N987m; the connection of water and drainage system at the Kebbi Central Mosque valued at N110m and the building and partitioning of Mohammed Maira Secondary School valued at N247m.”
Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the EFCC filed 20 charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretences and abuse of office against Dakingari and Yusuf.
The High Court in its determination of the case had convicted and sentenced Yusuf to six months’ imprisonment while it discharged and acquitted Dakingari.
Dissatisfied, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal, asking it to set aside the judgment of the lower court and convict Dakingari as charged.
The appellate court allowed the appeal by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced Dakingari to seven years’ imprisonment each on 10 of the counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency. The sentence will however run concurrently.