Magaji Garba, Former Vice Chancellor bags 35-year jail term over N260m fraud

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, the former vice chancellor of the Federal University of Gusau, was found guilty of five counts relating to obtaining money through false pretence and forgery and was given a 35-year prison sentence by the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Garki, Abuja, presided over by Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu.

The conviction was obtained on Thursday by the EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

On October 12, 2021, the EFCC charged Garba with extortion for allegedly demanding money from a contractor under the guise of awarding him a N3 billion contract for the University’s perimeter wall fencing.

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The Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006’s section 1 (1) (a) and section 1 (3) both prohibit the offence.

The second count of the charge reads: “That on or about May 15, 2019, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, you, , while serving as the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Gusau, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N100,000,000 from Alhaji Shehu Umar Sambo, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ministaco Nigeria Limited, a contractor carrying out the construction of the Grand Convocation Square of the Federal University, Gusau under the false pretence of awarding a project for the perimeter wall fencing of the University valued at the total sum of N3 billion, which representation/pretense you knew to be false.”

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The third count states: “That you, Professor Magji Garba, with the intent to defraud obtained the sum of N150,000,000 from Alhaji Shehu Umar Sambo, Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of Ministaco Nigeria Limited, a contract executing the construction of the Grand Convocation Square at the Federal University, Gusau on or about the 1st August, 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, under the false presence of awarding a project for the perimeter wall fencing of the University valued at the total sum of N3,000,000,000, which representation/pretense you knew to be false.”

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He had entered a “not guilty” plea to the charges, which had prepared the way for a full trial.

The EFCC ended its investigation on December 14, 2021, after calling numerous witnesses and submitting a large number of documents that were accepted as evidence.

The trial judge stated today that the prosecution’s case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the court was satisfied with that finding.

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On all five counts, he found the defendant guilty and handed down sentences of seven years in prison on counts 1-3 without the possibility of a fine and seven years on counts 4 and 5 with the possibility of a N10 million fine on each count.

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