Court remands former agric institute head over N204.9m fraud

From right, Prof. Benjamin Ogunbodede. Jalekun Omitowoju. Zacceaus Tejumola and Adenose Clement, when they were arraigned on October 30, 2014. PHOTO: TheNews

Justice Yemi Ajayi of Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, has ruled that a former executive director of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Professor Benjamin Ogunbodede, be remanded in prison custody, following his alleged involvement in a N204.9m fraud.

Ogunbodede, who is to remain in prison custody, until he perfects his bail conditions, was accused by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) of allegedly opening an account with Access Bank for the purpose of defrauding the institute and fraudulently transferred money from staff salaries into it.

In a 49-count charge preferred against him and a former Chief Accountant of IAR & T, Mr. Zaccheaus Tejumola, ICPC told the court that the duo opened an unauthorised bank account titled ‘The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Ibadan Staff Club and Cooperative Account’ into which they transferred N204, 926, 265.35 from the personnel emolument account of the Institute.

The Commission maintained before the court that the two committed an offence by criminally conspiring to use their positions to defraud the Federal Government, as well as confer undue advantage upon themselves, contrary to provisions of Sections 26 (1) (c) and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, which offences are also punishable under the same act.

After the charges were read, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all of them, even as their counsel sought leave of the court for them to be admitted to bail.

Justice Ajayi, while ruling on the bail applications, did not grant the accused persons’ request, but instructed that they be remanded in prison custody, until a formal application of bail was made.

The trial has been adjourned to October 30 for commencement of hearing.



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