The Court of Appeal Kebbi Division has upturned the judgment of a Kebbi State High Court which discharged and acquitted Mohammed Arzika Dakingari, the accountant general of Kebbi State, on charges of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence preferred against him and one other person by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He, among other things, allegedly used his office for personal enrichment to the tune of N1.6billion.
Mr. Dakingari was charged alongside Musa Yusuf, managing director, Beal Construction Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Mr. Dakingari and used in awarding various contracts to himself.
Mr. Dakingari’s stake in Beal Construction Limited is contrary to civil service regulation which forbids serving officers from owning businesses.
Findings by the EFCC at the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that Mohammed 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 construction company operates two accounts at Ecobank and Unity Bank with Mr. Dakingari and Mr. Yusuf as signatories to the accounts.
Mr. Dakingari operated with two signatures, one in his official capacity as accountant-general of the state and the other as owner of Beal Construction Company Limited.
Analysis of the accounts revealed a total inflow of N1.3billion 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 N987million; the connection of water and drainage system at Kebbi Central Mosque valued at N110million and the building and partitioning of Mohammed Maira Secondary School valued at N247million.
Upon the conclusion of investigation, the EFCC filed a 20-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and abuse of office against Messrs Dakingari and Yusuf..
The lower court convicted and sentenced Mr. Yusuf to six months imprisonment while it discharged and acquitted Mr. Dakingari.
Dissatisfied, the EFCC asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the lower court and convict Mr. Dakingari as charged.
In its judgment Friday, the appellate court allowed the appeal by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced Mr. Dakingari to seven years imprisonment each on 10 of the counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.
The sentence is to run concurrently, a statement by the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said.