30 January 2013

Nigeria: Fraud - Court Sentences Provost, Bursar to Four Years Imprisonment

An Oyo State High Court has sentenced the Provost of the Federal Cooperative College, Eleiyele, Ibadan, Adekanye Komolafe, and Bursar of the college, Ruth Aweto to four years imprisonment without option of fine, Premium Times reports

In his three-hour judgment delivered in Ibadan yesterday, Justice Mashood Abass, held that the two principal officers of the college were guilty over involvement in abuse of office and misappropriation of funds put in their care.

The judge also found the duo guilty of four out of the eight -count charge preferred against them in a suit by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.

But the convicts will spend one year in prison as the sentence on the four-count charge will run concurrently.

The ICPC had dragged the two principal officers before the court over their role in a proposal raised to collect money for the payment of salaries of 41 casual workers, which they presented as permanent staff of the college.

Rather than N3.7 million, they raised a budget of N7 million and collected same from the Federal Government.

The judge further discharged and acquitted the accused on the first four-count of the eight count-charge, but said the prosecutor did a thorough job as it was able to convince the court beyond all reasonable doubts of their culpability in the last four charges.

Count five of the charge against the accused had read thus , "Ruth . Aweto (female) and Adekanye Komolafe (male) between the months of October 2005 and January 2006 or thereabout ,at Ibadan, being public officers in the service of Federal Cooperative College , Ibadan did engaged in a criminal conspiracy to use a document which is defective in material particular; to wit , Budget proposal submitted by the college for the year 2006 to mislead the Federal Government of Nigeria by stating in the aforesaid Budget proposal that 41 casual staff of the said college who were entitled to N3,690,000 as total annual emolument for the year 2006 were permanent staff of the said college and were therefore entitled to full benefits and Emoluments as payable staff totaling N7,041,861.15 for the year 2006."

Justice Abass further held that the officers had betrayed the trusts reposed on them by the Federal government by using their positions to corner the money put under in their custody for smooth administration of the college.

The judge also held that from all available evidence before him, he was convinced that the convicts lacked integrity.

The convicts had been brought to court under the ICPC law which stipulates five years for each of the offences for which they were found guilty; but the judge said he was lenient with them because they were first offenders, saying that he also considered the position of their families during and after the trial.

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