Five former staff of the Department of Finance and Accounts, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, who were arraigned on Thursday, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for allegedly conspiring and obtaining N185m by false pretence, were on Friday, granted bail by Justice M. T. Salihu of the Federal High Court sitting in Maiduguri.
The accused persons -Mahmud Deji Sambo, a former Assistant Director; Bukar Musti, a former Assistant Chief Accountant; Mohammed Saleh Kasim, a former Executive Officer; Haruna G. Katangana, a former Internal Auditor and Alkali Ibrahim Gonimi- were alleged to have, at various times, connived to alter documents to defraud the University to the tune of N185million.
Sambo, also known as Ardo Hamajam, and Kasim, aka Babagana Sale, were arraigned on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, uttering of documents and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N61 million.
In one of the counts against them, they allegedly obtained N35, 882,000, between March 2009 and December 2009, the coffers of the UMTH under the pretext that it was for supplies to the hospital and contractual salary for Babagana Saleh.
Musti and Sambo were docked on a 3-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence to the tune of over N58million.
They are alleged to have, between March 2010 and June 2010, used their positions to defraud the UMTH of the said sum in the guise that it was to be used for payment of salaries.
Kasim was arraigned alongside Musti and Sambo on a 3-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N8million between September 2008 and September 2010.
Gonimi, (aka La’ari Wakil), was also arraigned separately along with Musti and Sambo on a 2-count charge bordering on obtaining N5million by false pretence.
They were alleged to have, between February 2010 and June 2011, fraudulently obtained the sum of N5,986,257.33 from the coffers of the teaching hospital in the guise that it was for payments of salaries.
Katangana, who was arraigned along with Musti and Sambo on a 15-count charge bordering on forgery, allegedly connived to prepare false documents to wit: UMTH payment voucher No. GTB/01/09 for January 2009 salaries, with intent that it be used and acted upon as genuine- an offence contrary to Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 467 of the same Act.
The accused persons had all pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.
However, counsel to EFCC, Abubakar Aliyu, had made an oral application to consolidate the charges preferred against the accused persons, which the defence did not object to.
Delivering a ruling on their bail applications Friday, Justice Halilu granted bail to Musti and Sambo for N60m each and two sureties for N30million each. The sureties, he ordered, must have landed properties worth N10million each within the jurisdiction of the court.
Also, both Sambo and Saleh Kasim, who were arraigned together on separate counts, were granted bail in the sum of N30 million each with two sureties in the sum of N15 million each. One of the sureties must have landed property worth N5million.
Justice Salilu added that the above ruling also applied to Kassim, Sambo and Musti accordingly.
In the same vein, Katangana, Sambo were admitted to bail in the sum of N8million and two sureties in the sum of N4million each.
The case has been adjourned to June 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2016 for commencement of trial.