A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a former Chief Accountant of Vanguard Newspapers, Bhadmus Abiodun, to seven years imprisonment for fraud. He was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing of about N3.1million belonging to his employer.
The court also sentenced former circulation representative of Vanguard newspaper, Benin Office, Joseph Ejike Ezeobi, to three years imprisonment over his involvement in stealing and forgery.
In his judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye held that the prosecution has proved its case against Abiodun and Ezeobi beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them to various prison terms without an option of fines.
Prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, informed the court that Abiodun committed the offence in collaboration with the Vanguard Media Representative for Onitsha, Samuel Ogbole between January 9, 2006 and January 4, 2008.
But Ogbole was said to have absconded when bail was granted to the duo by the court after their arraignment. He is still at large.
Mohammed further informed the court that the convict and his accomplice had on various dates, illegally converted N400, 000, N2.5million and N120, 000 belonging to the complainant, Vanguard.
Mohammed said, “On January 16, 2007, the duo conspired to and forged a Wema Bank deposit slip with No. 7125699 purporting to be the value of N225, 165.
“On May 30, 2007, the men conspired and forge a Wema Bank deposit slip with No. 3270712 purporting to be the value of N256, 850”.
According to Mohammed, the offences are contrary to Sections 390 (7), 467 (2)(i) and 516 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State 2003.
Justice Ipaye held that the money Biodun and Ogbole kept for themselves belongs to Vanguard newspaper.
The judge said, “The defendant is hereby sentenced to seven years in prison on count one. He is sentenced to seven years in prison each for counts two to eight.”
The judge however said that the prison terms for counts two to eight are to run concurrently.