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Court jails Igbinedion, aide over N25 billion fraud


Mike Igbinedion

Mike Igbinedion

THE Federal High Court sitting in Benin City yesterday afternoon sentenced the younger brother to the former governor of Edo State, Michael Igbinedion and Patrick Eboigbodin, who were both personal aides to former governor, Lucky Igbinedion, to six years and 20 years imprisonment respectively, over money laundering charges amounting to N25 billion brought against them and three others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Michael was found guilty on three-count charges of two years each to run concurrently but he was given an option of fine of N3 million while Egboigbodin was found guilty on 10 charges for two years each and would run concurrently.

He was, however, denied the option of fine even after arguments by his lawyers. Presiding judge, Justice Muhammed Liman, also pronounced that the sixth accused, PMI Security Nigeria Limited, which is a corporate body be wound down and its assets forfeited to the government.

Before the sentence was passed, counsel to the first and second accused presented their briefs where they pleaded for leniency for their clients.

The counsel pleaded for an option of fine rather than jail term for their clients. Chief Richard Ahonanuogho, counsel to Eboigbodin noted that though the relevant punishment for the offense is jail term, the court also has the description to impose fine, adding that no money was traced to the personal benefit of the accused and as such, deserved a lighter punishment.

On his part, Alhaji Abubakar Shamsuddeen, counsel to the second accused, Michael Igbinedion said the plea for leniency became necessary since his client was a first-time offender and had no previous criminal record.

In his brief, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Tayo Olukotun, posited that an option of fine being canvassed by the accused was not justifiable and urged the court not to be convinced by the plea of option being pleaded by their counsels.

The judge had, on Wednesday evening, reserved sentencing for yesterday on a N25 billion fraud case brought against the accused. They were accused by the EFCC of acting as stooges to the former governor to divert state funds running into billions of naira.

The case with number FHC/11C/11 involving the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Lucky Igbinedion, Patrick Egboibodin, Michael Igbinedion, Gava Corporation, Romrig Nigeria Limited, PML Securities Company Limited and PML (Nigeria) Limited was opened on February 8, 2011 before Justice Adamu Hobon.

Eboigbodin was found guilty of count 50 – 59 while Igbinedion was found guilty of three-count charge of 79 – 81. On the counts in which the accused were discharged, Liman held that the EFCC lacked evidence to origin of illicit transactions.

They were arraigned on an 81-count charge bordering on money laundering, misappropriation of funds, conspiracy and abuse of office. The crime was committed when Igbinedion was governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.

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  • olu

    These minions were put in the gulag but what about the principal? they were probably doing the dirty bidding of their principal.

  • Nigeria, we hail thee. It is in this same country one oluremi olayinka was sentenced to 266yrs imprisonment for stealing N8m. how come somebody is paying N3m for N25b? Chai! There is God ooooooooooooooooooooooo

    • amakachude

      My brother you see dat kan thing? Na this country too a man wey tief over N2 billion pension money of other workers get N200,000.00 fine. The thing no gree my 10 year daughter rest. She come dey ask me everyday, how N200k go compensate for N2 billion. E be like say judges dey look face dey apportion jail sentences.

  • Samuel Adeyinka-Ojo

    A staff of popular eatery Sweet Sensation, Oluremi Olayinka pictured above has been sentenced to 266 years imprisonment by an Ogun state High Court for stealing N8 million from her employers.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    The brother of an ex-governor is allowed to go scot free and the house boy is sentenced to 20 years in prison. Nigerian justice. Talk about being thrown under the bus. This is a classic example.