Councillor to spend six months in prison for buying votes in Gombe

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Justice Sa’ad Moh’d of the Gombe State High Court has declared a councillor in Bolari East Local Government Area, Gombe, Ishiyaku Garba, guilty of vote-buying.

Garba was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on three counts bordering on bribery.

The EFCC had arrested the convict after receiving intelligence report at Bolari Polling Unit 0077 in Gombe State during the presidential and National Assembly elections. He was caught sharing money.

One of the counts read, “That you, Ishiyaku Garba and Joel Jagaba (still at large), on or about 23rd of March, 2019, at Bolari, Gombe State on the date slated for presidential and National Assembly elections at Bolari Polling Unit 0077, Gombe State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did agree among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: caused money to be expended for election bribery, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 124 (5) of Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and punishable under Section 124 (1) (c) of the same Act.”

Acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, confirmed that the councillor pleaded guilty to the charges.

During the trial, the prosecuting counsel, S.E. Okemini, called a witness, Hillary Obetta, for a review of facts and to also tendered exhibits which were admitted in evidence against Garba.

Defence counsel, S.A. Mustapha, however, pleaded for leniency.

The trial judge convicted the councillor on the three counts and sentenced him to one month in prison with an option of N100,000 fine on count one; one month in prison on count two with an option of N50,000 fine and one month in prison on count three with an option of N20,000 fine. The prison terms are to run consecutively.

The court further ordered that the sum of N295,000 recovered from him should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

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