Barrister Gideon Ngwen
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Gombe Zonal Command, on Monday October 11, 2021 arraigned one Gideon Ngwen, a lawyer, before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court, Jos, on a three count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation.
He allegedly converted the judgment debt paid into his account on behalf of his clients, about 100 staff of Plateau State Radio Television Corporation (PRTVC) whose employment was unlawfully terminated by the Plateau State Government, to personal use.
The workers had sometimes in 2014 and 2016 respectively instituted a suit at the National Industrial Court, Jos Division in Suit No. NICN/JOS/25/2014 and NICN/JOS/28/2016 against the Plateau State government for unlawful termination of their employment whereupon the defendant took up their case pro bono.
They stated that during the course of the trial, parties entered into a consent judgement and it was agreed that the sum of N181, 890, 402. 66 (One Hundred and Eighty One Million, Eight Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Four Hundred and Two Naira and Sixty Six Kobo) be paid to all 100 staff through the account of the defendant domiciled in United Bank for Africa.
They further alleged that to their dismay, they discovered that the sum of N107, 000, 000. 00 (One Hundred and Seven Million Naira) which has been paid into the defendant’s United Bank for Africa Bank account, had been converted by him for personal use.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, M. O. Tijani asked for a date for trial to commence.
The defendant who opted to stand for himself, did not object, “I have no objection to the prosecution counsel applying for a trial date, I have application for bail before the court and I have also served the complainant,” he said.
Justice Dabup granted the defendant bail with the condition that a member of the executive of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA must write letter of undertaking to produce him in court anytime for trial.
The matter was adjourned till November 3, 2021 for hearing.
In a related development, Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court, sitting in Ilorin on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 sentenced one Salami Yusuf Adetola, who claimed to be a United States of America Lottery Agent to a term of six months imprisonment for offences bordering on personation and cybercrime.
Adetola was sentenced alongside one AbdulKareem Abdulmojeed Olamilekan, a graphic designer from Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State and one Nwabudike Emmanuel Lawrence from Ethiope-East Local Government Area of Delta State for similar offence.
The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, October 13, 2021 arraigned the trio on separate charges, to which they pleaded guilty.
Following the guilty plea by the defendants, R. A Alao, counsel to the EFCC, called witnesses who are operatives of the Commission and tendered evidence which included the devices used in perpetrating the crime and various fraudulent messages printed out of the defendants’ phones and laptops, to establish the alleged offences against them. After the review of the facts of the cases, Alao urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants as charged.
In her judgment, Justice Akinpelu held that the prosecution had proved its cases beyond reasonable doubt.
While Adetola was sentenced to six months imprisonment with
N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) as option of fine, Olamilekan was sentenced to one year imprisonment with N300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira) as option of fine.
On the other hand, Lawrence bagged a prison term of six months on each of the two counts against him, which shall run concurrently with option of fine of
N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira Only) on each count.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the various devices used as instrumentality of the crime by the convicts to the federal government as well as restitution to the victims of the crime.