Appeal Court Insists ex-GM Borno Flour Mills Should Serve 7 Years in Prison
- For Allegedly Stealing Borno’s N86 million
By Abdulkareem Haruna
A former general manager of Borno Flour Mills, Maaji Arfo, was on Friday, July 1, sentenced to seven years in prison by the Federal Court of Appeal sitting in Gombe state, Northeast Nigeria.
Mr Arfo was in November 2021 jailed for 28 years by a Borno State High Court sitting in Maiduguri, for stealing the Flour Mills 86 million through shoddy deals.
The former GM was alleged to have committed the crime within the period when the people of Borno state were languishing in Boko Haram-induced humanitarian crisis where millions of displaced people could barely feed themselves.
He was arrested and arraigned on a six-count charge by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for “abuse of office and conferring undue advantage on himself.”
He was found guilty in four of the six charges against him, and sentenced to seven years in a correctional facility for each of the four counts.
The presiding judge, Haruna Mshelia, however, said the sentence would be served concurrently.
Mr Arfo appealed his sentence at the appellate court in Gombe where the judges on Friday, July 1, had in a unanimous ruling deemed the convict’s case as “unmeritorious” as they upheld the earlier sentence of the lower court.
Mr Arfo was accused of using his office as General Manager of the Flour Mill, between 2014 and 2020, to violate Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, by engaging in “multiple frauds in violation” punishable under relevant Sections of the same ICPC Act.
In one of the counts for which he was convicted, Mr Arfo allegedly awarded multiple contracts to Falkwat Multilinks Limited, a private company he owned or was a major stakeholder in, to supply diesel (Automotive Gas Oil) and maize to Maiduguri Flour Mills.
The Counsel to ICPC, Anas Kolo, told the court that the shoddy contracts worth N4.9 million
The council also said Mr Arfo had corruptly awarded N42.1 million to his company in July 2016 for the supply of 386.45 metric tonnes of maize and another N23 million to the same company in March 2016 to supply 306.94 metric tonnes of maize to the state-owned flour mills.
He was also alleged to have approved the payment of N16 million to Falkwat Multilinks to supply 217.45 metric tonnes of maize.
The Humanitarian Times can report that Maaji Shettima Arfo may not be the only corrupt civil servant that is milking Borno state resources at this painful time of insurgency. But to many who share the same posture of corruption in public spaces the bathing day would come when they would certainly bare their bellies.