The Court of Appeal in Sokoto has upheld the conviction of a deputy director at the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Ahmed Balarabe, for defrauding some job seekers of N8 million.
The court also ordered him to make N7 million restitution to the victims, according to a statement by the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, on Tuesday.
Ms Ogugua said the Zamfara State High Court had jailed Mr Balarabe 14 years with an option of fine after the judge, Bello Shinkafi, convicted him of two counts of obtaining by false pretence.
“The court was told how Balarabe, while being the coordinator of the Federal Character Commission in Zamfara and Sokoto States between 2017 and 2018, collected over N8 million from unsuspecting job seekers with the promise of giving them jobs, thereby contravening Section 1 (1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006,” the statement added.
The FCC was established in 1996 to enforce the implementation of the federal character principle by ensuring proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.
ICPC said the trial judge, Mr Shinkafi, sentenced Mr Balarabe to 14 years imprisonment with an option of fine of N500,000 for defrauding job seekers under the pretext of using his position to get jobs for them.
The court, according to the commission, ruled that the convict pay back N7 million to the victims of the crime.
However, dissatisfied with the ruling, the convict had approached the appellate court to have the judgment of the trial court upturned.
His lawyer, A. Y. Abubakar, had urged the Court of Appeal to overturn the judgement, while ICPC’s counsel, Mashkur Salisu, urged the court to uphold the verdict which he maintained was in line with the provisions of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006 violated by Balarabe.
“Having listened to the argument from the two counsel, the court unanimously dismissed the appeal on the grounds of lack of merit and affirmed the decision of the trial court,” the statement added.
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