*For allegedly stealing N177m
*We used the money to bribe lawmakers in Abuja
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017 secured the conviction and sentencing of Prof. Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede, a former Director-General, Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IART) located in Ibadan before Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ogunbodede was prosecuted alongside the trio of Zacheaus Tejumola, Adenose Clement and Jalekun Omotowoju on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds to the tune of N177 million.
Trouble started for the convicts following a petition dated 17th December, 2012 written by the Academic staff Union of the institute, alleging that Ogunbodede falsely claimed to have used the sum of N115million to pay hazard allowance to the members of staff of the institute in December 2013.
It was also alleged that Ogunbodede claimed to have used the sum of N15million to harvest crops. However, investigation revealed that he actually spent N800, 000 to harvest the crops.
The convicts had all pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were arraigned on 16th June, 2014, thereby setting the stage for their trial. In the course of the trial, the prosecution presented 15 witnesses and tendered relevant documents, which were all admitted in evidence.
Also, in 2016, 10 other accused persons in the matter had pleaded guilty to the charge and subsequently entered into a plea bargain arrangement with the Commission.
Delivering his judgement, Justice Ayo- Emmanuel said the prosecution had proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt. He, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first and second accused persons to 40 years imprisonment without an option of fine. The third accused was sentenced to four years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
However, Ogunmodede claims he and the two other persons convicted alongside him spent the alleged N177m to bribe lawmakers and some employees of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja.