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Former Gusau University VC jailed 35 years

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday secured the conviction of a former Vice Chancellor of Federal University Gusau, Professor Magaji Garba, who was found guilty of a five-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence and forgery by Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Garki, Abuja.

Professor Garba was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The former VC was charged by the EFCC on October 12, 2021, for allegedly extorting various sums from a contractor under the guise of awarding him a N3 billion contract for the University’s perimeter wall fencing.

The offense violates section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Act and is punishable under section 1 (3).

Count two of the charge reads: “That you, Professor Magaji Garba, whilst being the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gusau on or about the 15th of May, 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira) from Alhaji Shehu Umar Sambo, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ministaco Nigeria Limited, a contractor executing 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 N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) which representation/pretense you knew to be false”.

Count three reads: “That you, Professor Magji Garba, whilst being the Vice Chancellor, 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 with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N150,000,000.00 (One Hundred and fifty Million Naira 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 under the false presence of awarding a project for the perimeter wall fencing of the University valued at the total sum of N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira), which representation/ pretense you knew to be false”.

In response to the accusations, Professor Garba entered a plea of “not guilty,” which paved 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 said the prosecution’s case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the court was satisfied with that finding.

Writing by Adeniyi Bakare