Honourable Justice Halima S. Muhammed of Gombe State High Court 2, sitting in Gombe, has convicted and sentenced a 67-year old retired Gombe State Secondary School Principal, Bello Muhammed Abubakar, to two years imprisonment over fraudulent activities and running of illegal institutions.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), had in a 2-count charge brought before the court, accused the convict of defrauding unsuspecting admission seekers of N3,884,200 in the guise of offering them admission into three non-existing higher institutions.
The Commission also had in a Charge No: GM/128C/2021 informed the court of how Mr. Abubakar obtained by false pretense, the above sum and illegally operated the three different institutions known as Goni Mukhtar Polytechnic, Goni Mukhtar College of Education and Goni Mukhtar Linguistic Centre, in one block of three class rooms in Gombe State between 2009 and 2015.
His actions are contrary to Section 13 and punishable under Section 68 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, Section 1(i) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act, 2006 and Section 320 of the Penal Code.
When the convict was admitted to take his pleas during his arraignment on the 22nd of February 2022, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him. This development informed the trial judge to adjourn the case to 29th and 30th March 2022, respectively for definite hearing.
However, at the resumed hearing, Mr. Abubakar changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
After admitting guilty to all the charge, Counsel to ICPC, Mashkur Salisu, applied for the review of the facts by tendering all necessary documents in line with Section 290 (1) of Gombe State Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The Prosecution Counsel also asked the court for an order to immediately close down all the institutions permanently.
In a swift reaction Counsel to the convict, Mr. A.B. Ebrany prayed the court for leniency for his client on the grounds of his age, having a large family and being a first-time offender.
In handing down the judgment to the convict, Justice Muhammed sentenced the retired school principal to two years imprisonment and ordered the immediate and permanent closure of the illegal institutions.