A high court sitting in Kaduna has sentenced a cashier with the Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board, one Bitrus A. Mallam, to one year imprisonment over a one count charge bordering on theft of N8.6m.
Bitrus was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court, on Thursday, May 5, 2016, found that Bitrus committed the offense in 2012 by dishonestly taking the sum, belonging to the Kaduna State Local Government Pensions Board without the consent of management of the board.
Justice MTM Aliyu, who presided over the case, said the accused’s offense is contrary to section 286 and punishable under section 289 of the Penal Code Laws of Kaduna State.
The convict, who until his conviction, was head of Idon in Adara Chiefdom, Kaduna State, pleaded not guilty to the charge, leading to his full trial.
During the trial, the prosecution counsel, Jijah H. Bwala, presented five witnesses and tendered 22 documents to prove his case.
While delivering his ruling Justice Aliyu stated that “the confessional statements made by the accused were made voluntarily and were submitted to the court.
“These confessions were corroborated in evidence by PW1, PW2, PW3, PW4 and PW5. The defense only denied that these statements were made voluntarily, but failed to provide any evidence to that effect.
“Furthermore, when the crime was discovered, the Board issued the accused a query, which he responded to, admitting culpability, accepting full responsibility for the crime, and pleading for the mercy of the board as well as the opportunity to make restitution of the amount stolen.
“Exhibits tendered in court also corroborated the different testimonies and were not discredited by the defence. Exhibits 2 and 3 prove that the accused did take monies, the property of the Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board. He did so to cause wrongful gain to himself by unlawful means. The prosecution has proved their case, and I convict you as charged.”
Justice Aliyu, thereafter, sentenced the accused to a 12-month prison term. He was also fined N100, 000.
The court further ruled that his inability to pay the N100,000 fine would attract additional 12 months in prison.
Mallam, who was employed by the board in 1993 as a clerical officer, rose to become a cashier in 1998.
He, however, abused his position and, in the process, made illicit money with which he acquired landed properties and vehicles.