Court slams 2-year jail sentence on Taraba gov’s aide

A Jalingo chief magistrates’ court on Friday sentenced Dominic Bukuni, one of the aides of Darius Ishaku, governor of Taraba state, to two years imprisonment for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.
Bebeto Haruna, 32, who was arraigned along with Bukuni, also bagged nine years jail sentence.
In his judgment, which lasted three hours, Yusuf Babasoro, chief magistrate, said the prosecution had proven its case beyond any reasonable doubt that the two accused were guilty of the offences as charged.
Babasoro said Haruna was guilty on the 1st and 2nd counts for impersonation and cheating, which were contrary to sections 132 and 322 of the penal code.
He said the offences attracted a fine of N5,000 and N10, 000 or jail terms of six months and one year respectively.
The magistrate also convicted Haruna on a three-count charge of fraud to the tune of N3.5million and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment without an option of fine.
According to Babasoro, Haruna defrauded 28 unsuspecting victims of the amount on the pretext that he would assist them to secure employment at the Taraba State University, Jalingo.
He sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment with an option of a fine of N20,000.
Babasoro said the offences contravened section 597 of the penal code.
Mohammed Ibrahim, the prosecutor, had earlier told the court that Haruna and Bukuni committed the offences sometime between June and December 2013.
Ibrahim said the two men conspired and impersonated Emmanuel Bwacha, a former senator, and Sani Yahaya, vice-chancellor of the Taraba State University.
The prosecutor told the court that Haruna and Bukuni, using a telephone number- 08108989687, defrauded one Philomena Umaru and 14 others: all of Jalingo, of N2, 245,000 under the pretext of offering them employment with the state university.
He said the two of them also defrauded one Bala Yakubu and 12 others of N1, 420, 000 on the pretext of presenting their names to the vice-chancellor as candidates of Bwacha, seeking to be offered employment.
Ibrahim alleged that in December 2012, the men used GSM number 08108989887 to impersonate Bwacha and defraud one Ishaku Adamu, the suspended chairman of Ibi local government council of the state.
The prosecutor said they also collected N500,000 and a cattle worth N95,000 from the council chairman to plead with members of the state house of assembly so that they can revoke his suspension.
Ibrahim had urged the court to give the convicted persons “the highest punishment”, saying the offences contravened the provisions of sections 97, 179, 322 and 364 of the penal code.