The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has secured the conviction of one Jalekun Yisau and nine other defendants in a case of alleged conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds.
The convicts were charged before Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State alongside a former Director of Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training, Benjamin Ogunbodede, Zaccheaus Tejumola and Adenose Clement.
They were first arraigned on October 30, 2014, on a 17-count charge of misappropriation and diversion of funds to the tune of N115 million, to which they all pleaded not guilty at the time.
But at the resumed hearing on June 17, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of the intention of the 4th defendant, Jalekun Yisau, to change their plea from “not guilty” to “guilty”. Counsel to Yisau, Akin Ladipo, confirmed the information presented by the prosecution. Consequently, the charges that applied to the convicts were read to them and they pleaded “guilty”.
But the trio of Tunde Olupona, I. A Salawu and B.Y Adegboyega, counsels to the other accused persons in the case, opposed the plea bargain agreement, contending that the proceeding before the court is a joint trial and that the plea bargain agreement would prejudice the other parties involved in the matter.
Justice Emmanuel however, overruled their objections, convicted and sentenced the 4th -13th defendants to two and half years imprisonment each on counts 1, 3,5,8,10,14 and17. The sentence would take effect from 30th October, 2014 when the defendants were first arraigned.
The convicts are also to sign a bond with the EFCC to be of good conduct and never to get involved in financial crimes both within and outside Nigeria.
The matter was adjourned to July 1, 2016 for the continuation of trial.