Tuesday, 3 October 2017

N177m Fraud: Ex-DG Institute of Agriculture Research, Prof Benjamin Ogunbodede Bags 40-Year Jail Term

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday secured the conviction of Professor Benjamin Ogunbodede, a former director-general of the Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IART), Ibadan, Oyo State, for defrauding the institute to the tune of N177 million.

The anti-graft agency had arraigned the former director-general before a Federal High Court in Ibadan alongside 3 other suspects – Zacheaus Tejumola, Adenose Clement and Jalekun Omotowoju on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds.

The convicts had all pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were arraigned on June 16, 2014 and the EFCC thereafter presented 15 witnesses who tendered relevant documents, which were all admitted in evidence.

Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel who presided over the matter ruled that he was convinced that the EFCC had established the guilt of the accused persons and sentenced both Professor Ogunbodede and Tejumola to 40 years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Clement and Omotowoju were also sentenced to four years imprisonment without an option of fine. All the sentences are to run concurrently.

The EFCC in a statement published on its Facebook page stated that it launched an investigation after receiving a petition from the Academic staff Union of the institute.

The petitioners had alleged that Ogunbodede falsely claimed to have used the sum of N115m to pay hazard allowance to the members of staff of the institute in December 2013.

Ogunbodede was also accused of falsely claiming to have used the sum of N15m to harvest crops, while EFCC investigations revealed that only the sum of N800,000 was spent harvesting the crops.

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