How UMTH director, accountant diverted N148m to ghost workers – witness tells court

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A Prosecution witness in the trial of Mahmud Deji Sambo and Bukar Musti, both former staff of the Department of Finance and Accounts, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), has told Justice M. T. Salihu of the Federal High Court sitting in Maiduguri, Borno State, that the accused persons diverted N148 million from the coffers of UMTH using names of non-existent workers as conduit pipes.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are prosecuting Sambo and Musti, who are former Assistant Director and Assistant Chief Accountant, UMTH, on a three-count charge of fraud to the tune of N148 million.

The witness, Mai-Abuna Maijir, a former worker of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, while being led in evidence by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Alkasim Jafar, told the court that Sambo and Musti connived at various times, to fraudulently pay salaries to ghost workers who were not staff of UMTH.

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Maijir, said that he had been in the employment of the UMTH as an accountant in the Department of Finance and Account for more than 11 years.

According to him, “when it was discovered that there were over payment of salaries in 2011, a committee was set up to investigate the fraud. The committee’s investigation found us guilty of the fraud and recommended that I, Sambo, Musti, and others involved be expelled from the service of UMTH.”

While responding to questions on how payments were made, Maijri stated that, “Sambo, the then assistant director of finance and account posted me to payroll unit and we received instructions from him to prepare allowances/salaries. After his approval, the documents would be inputted into a computer which only Sambo and a lady had access to, before it’s taken to the budget department for approval.

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He said that the fraud, whereby increments of monies were paid as salaries to non-existent workers had always been perpetrated before they came on board.

He further said that, “as an officer on grade level 8 with a monthly salary of N155,000.00 (one hundred and fifty-five thousand naira), I received nothing less than N200, 000.00 (two hundred thousand naira) monthly”.

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