N177M fraud: Ex-director, IART gets 40 years jail term
L-R: Prof. Banjamin Ogunmodede, Jelakun Omitowoju and Zacceaus Tejamola
Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State yesterday sentenced the former Director General of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Prof. Benjamen Ogunmodede, to 40 years’ imprisonment without an option of fine by a for misappropriation funds meant for the payment of salaries and execution of projects in the school.
Zacheus Tejumola, a former Chief Accountant of the institute, was also sentenced to 40 years imprisonment while Clement Adenose, another staff, bagged four years in jail.
The trio had been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2011 on 16 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion and stealing of school subvention, among other
Justice Ayo Emmanuel, who gave the ruling, sentenced the convicts to four years’ imprisonment on each of the counts they were found guilty of.
The judge, however, ordered that they would spend the jail terms concurrently.
Ogunmodede and others were accused of diverting N177m out of a subvention of N600m released by the Federal Government for the school. The sum (N177m) was said to have been spent without due process.
In a judgment which lasted over two hours, Ayo-Emmanuel said that he convicted the trio based on the overwhelming evidence against them.
The judge, however, said that he had no reason to convict them on count 13 due to want of evidence.
“There is no ambiguity in the facts tendered by the prosecution that the three convicts conspired, converted and stole the hazard allowance of N177 million belonging to the staff of IAR&T.
“Ogunbodede and Tejumola are therefore, sentenced to 40 years imprisonment each for their roles for counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16.
“Adenose is sentenced to four years in prison. The sentences will, however, run concurrently,” Ayo-Emmanuel stated.
In their defence, the convicts claimed that a huge part of the amount was used to bribe members of House of Representatives and some workers of the Federal Ministry of Finance who facilitated the release of the fund for the research institute.