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Zamfara varsity ex-VC sentenced to 35 years in prison over ‘N260m fraud’

A former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State capital, Prof. Magaji Garba has been sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment over offences bordering…

A former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State capital, Prof. Magaji Garba has been sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment over offences bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N260m and alleged forgery.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday secured Garba’s conviction at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Garki, Abuja, after he was found guilty of a five-count charge by Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu.

According to the spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, the former VC was arraigned on October 12, 2021, for allegedly extorting various sums from a contractor on the pretext of awarding him a N3billion contract for the perimeter wall fencing of the university.

Uwujaren explained that the offence is contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

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The charge reads in part: “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 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 which representation/pretense you knew to be false.

“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 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, which representation/ pretense you knew to be false”.

Garba had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.

After calling witnesses and tendering so many documents, which were admitted in evidence, the EFCC closed its case on December 14, 2021.

Delivering the judgment on Thursday, the trial judge said the court was satisfied that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

He pronounced the defendant “guilty” on the five counts, and sentenced him to seven years on count 1-3 without option of fine and seven years’ imprisonment on counts 4 and 5, with option of N10 million fine each.