A Borno State High Court found the former Supervisory Councillor for Agriculture in Mafa Local Government Area, Borno State, Umar Ibrahim, and Bulama Zangebe guilty of criminal misappropriation on Wednesday for diverting food meant for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The presiding judge, Justice Fadawu Umar, sentenced the duo to two years’ imprisonment with a fine of N1 million each.
Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Zangebe were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Maiduguri Zonal Office for stealing 300 bags of rice, arguing that the diversion amounted to two charges of conspiracy and criminal misappropriation. Of the 300 bags stolen, 180 were sold.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The EFCC told the court that it was obvious the duo knew the rice was intended for IDPs and was not for sale, as each bag of rice had “not for sale” labels on them.
Prosecuting counsel K. Sanusi urged the judge to prosecute the accused in full accordance with the law, while defense counsel M.M. Monguno pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy.
Justice Umar found the accused guilty, saying that the evidence against them was overwhelming.
“I find both of you, Umar Ibrahim and Bulama Zangebe, guilty of criminal misappropriation and illegal acts. I have considered all evidence before the court, and I hereby sentence you to two years’ imprisonment each and with the fine of N1 million each,” Justice Umar said in his ruling.
It would be recalled that the rice was donated to IDPs in Mafa LGA, Borno State by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), a non-governmental organization. EFCC operatives discovered that 300 bags were missing and promptly arrested the duo.
According to some of the suspects, the Caretaker Chairman of Mafa LGA, Shettima Maina, allegedly instructed the sale of the rice to the duo of Lawan Ibrahim of Bolori Stores and Umar Salisu at the rate of N8,500 per bag.
Source: sahara reporters (news)