Professor, two others get 120 years jail over N177 million fraud

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The Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State has handed a 120-year imprisonment without option of fine to a professor of Plant Reading and former Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Benjamin Ogunmodede along with two others for diverting N177 million meant for salaries and projects.

Sentenced with Ogunmodede are Zackeus Tejumola and Adenekan Clement who were chief accountant and employee during his tenure.

The trio were charged on a 16-count-charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion and stealing of the institute’s subventions.

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) had in 2014 arraigned the accused for diverting N177 million of the N600 million received as subventions from the Federal Government to pay salaries and execute projects at the school.

Justice Ayo Emmanuel, who delivered the judgment, said the 40 years each for the trio would run concurrently. He said the accused persons confessed to have induced the releases.

The judge ruled that bribery and money laundry were punishable offences under the law, adding that the punishment was to serve as deterrent to those who might be contemplating on mismanaging public funds and rehabilitation platform for the accused.

Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Nkereuwem Anana, said the ruling affirmed that the country was still consistent to taming corruption in the land.

But counsel to Ogunmodede, Tunde Olupona, though admitted that the judgment was very fair to all parties, he, however, noted that the legal team would review the verdict.

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