Posted by LANRE ADEWOLE, Abuja on
The alleged national ID card scam, which rocked the nation in 2003, claimed another casualty on Tuesday, as an officer of....
The alleged national ID card scam, which rocked the nation in 2003, claimed another casualty on Tuesday, as an officer of the Department of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Umar Musa, a Corporal, was jailed for 10 years without an option of fine by an Abuja High Court.
He was convicted for stealing $10,000 and another N10,000, belonging to the ex-Internal Affairs Minister, Alhaji Husseini Akwanga, who was indicted in the ID card scam.
Umar, 28, reportedly forcibly took the money from Akwanga while the ex-minister was remanded in the SSS detention facility in Abuja, when he was being interrogated on his alleged involvement in the national ID card scam.
Umar, who is from Nasarawa, the same state as the ex-minister, was drafted to monitor the minister while in detention.
Umar was said to have conducted a forceful search on Akwanga, and when he removed the money, he reportedly told the ex-minister that he was going to hand it over to the appropriate authorities.
Akwanga later reported the matter to another officer, and when Umar was confronted by his colleague, he was said to have denied taking any money from the ex-minister, though investigations by his employers revealed that he had lodged the money in a branch of Afribank in Abuja, where he invested the dollars in treasury bill.
The matter was subsequently transferred to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), which arraigned him on a two-count charge under section 19 of the ICPC Act, 2000.
He was accused of using his office to confer unfair and corrupt advantage upon himself as a public officer.
The prosecution, led by Sanusi Kado and Godson Igbadume, called four witnesses, which included the ex-minister and a Afribank official, while the suspect called none.
Delivering judgment, Justice Ishaq Bello held that Umar was guilty as charged, and sentenced him to five years imprisonment on each count, though the terms will run concurrently, a situation that will see Umar serving only five years in prison.
In a soul-stirring allocutus on Umarís behalf before he was sentenced , his counsel, E.O Eruba, begged the judge to temper justice with mercy, because Umar was a first-time offender, who had no criminal record, as well as emphasizing that the convict just got married, and the father of a new baby.
Eruba also pointed out that Umar was the bread-winner of his family, including a very poor father, who is a farmer, while capping it with the dismissal of the 28-year-old from the service, which the lawyer considered, should have been enough punishment.
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