An Ibadan High Court has sentenced the Provost and Bursar of the Federal Co-operative College, Ibadan, Mrs. Ruth Adehwe Aweto and Mr. Adekanye Komolafe respectively to four years imprisonment without option of fine for graft charges preferred against them. The jail terms are, however, to run concurrently.
The presiding judge, Justice Mashood Abass found the two accused persons guilty of four out of the eight count-charge of corrupt practices levelled against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The two accused persons, between October 2005 and January 2006 or thereabout, being public officers in the service of the Federal Co-operative College, Ibadan, allegedly engaged in a criminal conspiracy to mislead the Federal Government.
According to the judge, from all the available evidences before the court, including the statements and evidences of the two accused persons, the college employed 41 casual workers with a monthly salary of N7.5 million of which their total entitlement supposed to be N3,690,000 for the year 2006. He disagreed with the testimonies of the accused persons that they agreed to present and submit the budget proposal of N7, 041, 861. 15 of the college on the 41 casual workers for year 2006 based on the fact of the interview supposedly conducted for the 41 casual workers preparatory to their being confirmed as full members of staff of the college.
The convicts had claimed in their various testimonies that they used the balance to offset the outstanding workers’ salary for year 2004. But Abass emphasised that the accused admitted that they did not remit the balance of N3, 351,851,15 to government coffers in 2006. He submitted that the two accused, throughout the trial, failed to show any document or call superior officer from the Federal Government that gave them authority to convert the balance of the N3.3 million of 2006 budget, which they collected from the government.
He further declared that the two accused failed to give reasonable evidence for their action in using the balance of N3.3 million from the 2006 budget to settle part of the outstanding balance of N9 million for 2004 salary to workers when in actual fact supplementary budget had been prepared, if eventually the casual workers were employed.
In his judgment, Justice Abass noted that the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt that the two accused, being the principal officers of the college, betrayed the trust reposed in them by the Federal Government by misappropriating the money in their custody for the smooth administration of the college.