A member of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Lawali Gogonkade, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of N31m fraud preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

He was arraigned before a Zamfara State High Court sitting in Gusau on Thursday on four counts bordering on corrupt practices.

He was convicted and sentenced by Justice Bello Shinkafi after pleading guilty to the charges.

Gogonkade, until his conviction by the court, represented the Kaura-Namoda council area in the state House of Assembly.

A statement by the ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Gogonkade was accused of using his position to confer corrupt advantage upon himself in a N31m contract meant for the supply of medical equipment to the state government, stressing that the act violated sections 10, 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The statement said the counsel for the ICPC, Mashkur Salisu, told the court that the convict received N4.5m from the Managing Director of Madaci Pharmacy, Mr Hamisu Jibril, as a percentage of the sum of a contract awarded by the state government for the supply of medical equipment.

The ICPC said Gogonkade’s counsel, Abubakar Junaidu, had earlier argued on the propriety of the charge before the court, saying that the accused had been charged once before the Federal High Court in Gusau by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but the trial judge overruled him and shortly after, the convict entered into a guilty plea.

“Junaidu then pleaded with the court to be lenient with his client considering the fact that he was a first time offender with a large family and dependants, who rely on him solely for their livelihood. Following his guilty plea, the ICPC counsel invited the court to convict him in line with the provisions of Section 274 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.”

In sentencing Gogonkade to four years in prison, Justice Shinkafi ruled that he had an option of paying a fine of N30,000 on each of the counts preferred against him by the ICPC.

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