Court jails ministry’s ACTU former chairman over N5 million fraud

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has sentenced Alexander Micah Paman, a former Chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit, (ACTU), of the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja to 12 years imprisonment for defrauding the Federal Government of N5 million.

The sentence followed a charge that was preferred against Paman, an Assistant Director by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

The convict was alleged to have made false retirement of N4.9 million for the N5 million approved by the Permanent Secretary on 4 December 2014, for the observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2014, contrary to Section 16 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

He was also accused of diverting the sum of N400,000 donated for the same purpose by the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation, contrary to Section 19 of the said Act.

A statement that was signed by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, disclosed that the convict had while defending his actions, told the court that the money was actually spent for the celebration of the International Anti-Corruption Day.

He was said to have furnished the court with unsubstantiated and unreceipted retirement claims.

“In his desperate bid to cover-up the diversion of the N400,000, he claimed that the amount was used for media, whereas the false retirement he made in respect of the N4.9 million included media coverage.

“His claims were however pushed back by counsel to ICPC, Ekoi Akponimisingha, with evidence that Paman had used part of the N4.9 million to pay the media as contained in the false retirement and had diverted the N400,000 for his personal use”, the statement added.

In his judgment, Justice O. A. Adeniyi, held that the prosecution successfully proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the convict failed to use the money for the purpose it was meant for.

The court, therefore, sentenced him to seven years imprisonment for making false returns, and five years for abuse of office and conferring corrupt advantage on himself.

The sentence, according to the court, will run concurrently.

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