The Gombe Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has secured the conviction of one Usman Adamu Shagari, who was prosecuted for producing and selling adulterated fertilizer in the Gombe Metropolitan City and Lariski village in Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
He was brought before Justice Fatima Musa of Gombe State High Court and charged with six counts.
Shagari was arrested sometimes in July 2019 in Gombe following intelligence report of his involvement in a syndicate that engaged in producing and selling adulterated fertilizer. Other suspects arrested were Idris Ali, Muhammad Alhassan Alaramma, Dahiru Salisu and Adamu Abdurahman.
They were arraigned before Justice Musa today on a 10-count charge bordering on the same offence but pleaded “not guilty”.
What the convict and his associate were normally doing is TO buy genuine fertilizer from recognised companies like Indorama, Kasco, Tag Agro fertilizer, Albarka ferttizer, Nasara fertilizer, Golden fertilizer and Federal Government fertilizer, mix it with sand and sell same as genuine to innocent farmers at same price in the bags of original companies they fraudulently printed.
The sand is almost more than two-third of the quantity in a particular bag while the real fertilizer is not up to one-third in each bag.
When the Commission was alerted of their nefarious activities, operatives of the Intelligence and Special Operations Section, ISOS of the zone swung into action, on Saturday July 27, 2019 and raided three illegal factories located at Lariski Village in Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State and Gombe Metropolis at where the said adulterated fertilizer is manufactured.
Other places where they carried out their illicit acts include Commercial area (Kasuwan Goro) and Gombe New Market (Kasuwan doya) both in Gombe Local Government Area of Gombe State. Operatives intercepted a fully loaded truck of 600 bags and two Toyota Tacoma pick-up vans containing 81 bags.
Following the conclusion of investigations, they were arraigned in Court. While Shagari pleaded “guilty”, his co-accomplices, pleaded “not guilty”.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Usman Adamu Shagarion or about 27th July, 2019 in Gombe, Gombe State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud used a false property Mark to with: Kano Agricultural Supply Company (Kasco), being packaged in a 50kg NPK-20.10.10 Fertilizer bag, which was blended by you and in a manner reasonably calculated to cause a purchaser to believe that it was a genuine fertilizer produced by Kasco and thereby committed an offence Punishable under Section 374 of the Penal Code.”
In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, M.D. Aliyu, urged the Court to pronounce Shagari guilty as charged.
After listening to the allocutus of his counsel, Musa Bala, Justice Musa sentenced him to six months on count one, one or N20,000 option of fine on count two or N30,000 options of fine, six months in prison or N20,000 fine in count three, one year imprisonment on count four or N30,000 fine, six months on count five or N20,000 fine and one year on count six or N30,000 option of fine.
The sentences are to run concurrently. The summary of the trial means either to pay the sum of N150,000 as fine or to serve the term of one year in prison.
The Judge also ordered that the bags of fertilizer confiscated should be destroyed.
The case involving the other defendants who pleaded not guilty has been adjourned to February 14, 2020 while they are to be remanded in a Correctional Facility.