From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned Kaduna State Deputy Speaker, Mato Dogara at the Federal High Court, Kaduna, over alleged N17 million fraud. Dogara, who was arraigned on a two-count charge alongside the former interim caretaker chairman of Lere Local Government Area of the state, Kabiru Tahir Malali, and five other staffers of the council, Ahmed Yahaya, Yushau Aboki, Billy Graham, Mrs. Hannatu Illiya, Eric Alhassan, pleaded not guilty to all the charges of fraud and conspiracy read to him by the court clerk.
The deputy speaker who was one time commissioner for science and technology was docked for allegedly conspiring with the former interim caretaker chairman of Lere Local Government Area and five other council staffers to defraud the council of N17 million, which was meant for a contract for renovation of Government Lodge, Saminaka, Lere Local Government.
Among the six-count charge read to him and others, Dogara was directly involved in two-count charge related to a contract scam for the renovation of the Government Lodge, Saminaka, while the other accused persons were involved in the six-count charge. The first-count charge read stated: “That you, Kabiru Tahir Malali, being the interim chairman, Lere Local Government, Kaduna State, Dr. Mato Dogara, being the deputy speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Ahmed Yahaya being the former Director of Finance, Lere Local Government, Billy Graham, the director of works Lere Local Government, Yushau Aboki, former director of Personnel Management, Lere Local Government, Mrs. Hannatu Illiya, head of health,
Lere Local Government and Eric Alhassan, former acting chairman of Lere Local Government Council, Kaduna State, within the jurisdiction of Federal High Court, conspired among yourselves to do an illegal act to wit, obtaining money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
“Some time between May, 2011 and March 2012, at Kaduna State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, obtained via fraudulent award of contract for renovation of Government Lodge, Saminaka, the sum of N17 million, the property of Kaduna State Government, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)((a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
The Presiding Judge, Mercellous Awokulehin ordered that Kaduna Deputy Speaker, Mato Dogara, be remanded in EFCC’s custody and adjourned the case to January 24, 28 and 29 for speedy trial. Also, the judge ordered that the five other accused persons be remanded in prison custody till January 24 when the case would resume trial.