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Promoting Good Governance.

Court declares UI staff guilty of forging Julius Okojie’s signature

An FCT High Court has declared Adedeji Taiwo, a senior staff of the University of Ibadan (UI), guilty of a four-count charge of forgery brought against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2016.

ICIR had reported how Taiwo, a senior protocol officer at UI, approached the Consular and Immigration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a note verbale, special request for visa, in favour of one Jegede Lukmon Adeyemi to travel to Seoul National University South Korea, purportedly signed by Julius Okojie, then Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

But unknown to Taiwo, Okojie usually signed such documents using red ink, not purple. This anomaly was detected by an official of the Foreign Affairs Ministry who promptly contacted ICPC operatives and had the suspect arrested.

According to the ICPC, Taiwo later confessed, during interrogation, that he forged the note verbale at a business centre and that he lifted and scanned Okojie’s signature from a previous request made to the ministry.

Taiwo was arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the FCT High Court, Apo division, on a four-count charge of using his position to confer unfair advantage on a person, forgery and making false statement to a constituted authority.

Ekoi Akponimisingha, counsel to ICPC, told the court that the offence violated Sections 19 and 25 (1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and was punishable under the same sections.

One of the charges read: “That you Adedeji Taiwo, while being in the employment of the University of Ibadan used your position as Principal Executive Officer, Passage and Protocol to confer unfair advantage on one Mr. Jegede Lukmon Adedeyemi by introducing him to the Director, Consular and Immigration Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a staff in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ibadan, via a letter captioned ‘Request for Note Verbale, when you knew he is not a staff of the said University and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

During the trial, the ICPC called six witnesses to testify against the accused person, including Okojie and the staff of the foreign affairs ministry who detected the fraud.

The trial judge found Taiwo guilty on all the charges brought against him.

However, he adjourned the proceedings till January 30, for sentencing, in line with the new FCT High Court sentencing guidelines issued by Ishaq Bello, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory.

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