The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has secured a 5-year jail term for a former Chairman of Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Mr. Dele Fagoriola, for various corrupt acts while in office.
Mr. Fagoriola was recently convicted by Hon. Justice T.O. Osoba of an Ondo State High Court, sitting in Akure, for “conferring corrupt
advantage upon himself” and his wife by approving and receiving the sum of N907,450 from the Local Government for conferences, seminars and workshops which he did not attend and to which his wife was not entitled – an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
ICPC had received a petition in the form of an audit report from the State Security Service requiring the Commission to carry out an
investigation into the activities of the former council Chairman, on several issues including a visit of the Governor of Ondo State to Akure
North L.G.A; seminars and workshops; renovation of offices and purchase of furniture materials, among others.
At the close of investigation a criminal charge of 9 counts was preferred against Mr. Fagoriola, and another 3-count charge was instituted against two key members of the committee he had set up to supervise the visit of the Governor in which the latter were found guilty.
Instead of discharging the burden of proof, the accused through his counsel, F.Omotosho, employed a lot of legal gimmicks and other
instrumentalities of the law to escape justice or stall the case by filing several Interlocutory Appeals. For example, having entered a
“no-case submission” which was dismissed by the trial court, Mr. Fagoriola proceeded to the Supreme Court on appeal. However, after a
careful examination of the appeal, the apex court, in a well-researched ruling, dismissed it for lacking merit, and ordered the accused to enter his defense.
In another gimmick, Mr. Fagoriola, on February 25, 2014 filed a motion seeking the enforcement of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, alleging that he was not given the right to fair hearing.
However, in a swift reaction, the prosecution counsel, Godson Igbadume of ICPC, filed a 37-paragraph counter-affidavit in opposition to the motion, arguing that “from the history of the case, it is clear that the accused/applicant is not interested in pursuing this case to a logical conclusion. From the inception of this case the accused/applicant has shown an obvious reluctance to stand this trial, I refer this court to the record of this trial for the 18th day of October 2006 where the accused/applicant disappeared from court and the court had to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.”
Having listened to the prayers and submissions of the defense and prosecution counsel, the matter was finally decided on Monday, 9th May, 2016 in favour of ICPC. Hon. Justice Osoba, delivering his judgment, found the accused guilty and sentenced him to 5 five years imprisonment without an option of fine.