EFCC operatives and the arrested members of thesyndicate

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.

Shagariwas brought before Justice Fatima Musa of Gombe State High Court and chargedwith six counts.

Hewas arrested sometimes in July 2019 in Gombe following intelligence report ofhis involvement in a syndicate that engaged in producing and sellingadulterated fertilizer.

Othersuspects arrested were Idris Ali, Muhammad Alhassan Alaramma, Dahiru Salisu andAdamu Abdurahman.

Theywere arraigned before Justice Musa Tuesday on a 10-count charge bordering onthe same offence but they pleaded not guilty.

Whatthe convict and his associate were normally doing is to buy genuine fertilizerfrom recognised companies like Indorama, Kasco, Tag Agro fertilizer, Albarkaferttizer, Nasara fertilizer, Golden fertilizer and Federal Governmentfertilizer, mix it with sand and sell same as genuine to innocent farmers atsame price in the bags of original companies they fraudulently printed.

Thesand is almost more than two-thirds of the quantity in a particular bag whilethe real fertilizer is not up to one-third in each bag.

Whenthe commission was alerted of their nefarious activities, operatives of theIntelligence and Special Operations Section (ISOS) of the zone swung intoaction. On Saturday, July 27, 2019 they raided three illegal factories locatedat Lariski Village in Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State and GombeMetropolis where the said adulterated fertilizer was manufactured.

Otherplaces where they carried out their illicit acts include Commercial area (KasuwanGoro) and Gombe New Market (Kasuwan doya) both in Gombe Local Government Areaof Gombe State.

TheOperatives said they intercepted a fully loaded truck of 600 bags and twoToyota Tacoma pick-up vans containing 81 bags.

Followingthe conclusion of investigations, they were arraigned in court.

WhileShagari pleaded guilty, his co-accomplices, pleaded not guilty.

Oneof the counts reads, That you, Usman Adamu Shagari, on or about 27th July,2019 in Gombe, Gombe State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court,with intent to defraud used a false property marked with with Kano AgriculturalSupply 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 apurchaser to believe that it was a genuine fertilizer produced by Kasco andthereby committed an offence punishable under Section 374 of the Penal Code.

Inview of his plea, prosecuting counsel, M.D. Aliyu, urged the court topronounce Shagari guilty as charged.

Afterlistening to the allocutus of his counsel, Musa Bala, Justice Musa sentencedhim to six months on count one, or N20,000 option of fine on count two orN30,000 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 fiveor N20,000 fine and one year on count six or N30,000 option of fine. Thesentences are to run concurrently. The summary of the trial means either topay the sum of N150,000 as fine or to serve the term of one year in prison.

The Judgealso ordered that the bags of fertilizer confiscated should be destroyed.

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