The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured the conviction of two public officials, Professor Kayode Carroll Oni and Mr. John Olajide Abolarin for fraud and misappropriation of public funds.
Professor Oni and Mr. Abolarin committed the offence while they served as the Chief Executive Officer and Controller of Finance respectively of the Nigeria Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Ilorin, Kwara State.
The convicts had earlier been arraigned before Honourable Justice M. Abdulgafar of Kwara State High Court, sitting in Ilorin for offences bordering on conspiracy and virement of funds.
ICPC had in a Charge No. KWS/ICPC/1/07, informed the Court of how the two public officers had conspired among themselves and transferred piecemeal, the sum of N54,850,000.00 allocated for personnel cost to the overhead account of NCAM from the Institute’s budgetary allocations for the year 2003 and 2004.
The Court was also told that the duo while acting as public officers at NCAM conspired with each other to spend the sum of N1,176,820.81 (One Million, One Hundred and Seventy-Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty Naira, Eighty-One Kobo) allocated for personnel services on overhead expenditure services.
Their actions contravened Section 26(1)(c), and is punishable under Section 22(5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, Act 2000.
When the charge was filed in 2007, the defendants objected to the validity of the charge, but this was dismissed by the trial judge.
However, they appealed against the ruling of the trial court and stayed proceedings in the matter for several years until the Supreme Court ordered them to go and face their trial in the year 2020.
The convicts were therefore re-arraigned in October 2021, and trial commenced immediately and within the time, the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Having found them guilty on 10 counts out of the 12 leveled against them, Justice Abdulgafar sentenced them to six months imprisonment on each count, with an option of fine of N50,000 as well on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.