Court jails The Vanguard’s ex-chief accountant seven years for fraud
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a former Chief Accountant of Vanguard Newspapers, Bhadmus Abiodun, to seven years imprisonment for fraud.
According to a statement by spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Tony Orilade, Abiodun was prosecuted on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing of about N40.66 million belonging to his employer.
He said 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 said that the prosecution had proved its case against Abiodun and Ezeobi beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them to prison without an option of fine.
Prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, in the course of the trial, told 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.
However, 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 said that the convict and his accomplice had at various times also illegally converted N4.52 million, N18 million and N18.14 million belonging to his employer, Vanguard newspapers.
He said: “On January 16, 2007, the duo conspired and forged a Wema Bank deposit slip with No. 7125699 purporting to be the value of N225,165. Also on May 30, 2007, the men conspired and forged a Wema Bank deposit slip with No. 3270712 purporting to be the value of N256, 850.
“The duo also on January 7, 2009 in Lagos, with intent to defraud the complainant (Vanguard Media Limited), fraudulently converted N800,000 property of Vanguard Media Limited.
“They forged a Wema Bank Plc deposit slip No. 0278679 dated November 21, 2007 purporting to be the value of N740,000.”
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, who held that the money Biodun and Ogbole kept for themselves belongs to Vanguard newspapers, said: “The defendant is hereby sentenced to seven years in prison on count one and seven years in prison each for count two to eight.”
He said that the prison terms for count two to eight are to run concurrently.