A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced a former Chief Accountant of Vanguard Newspaper, Bhadmus Abiodun, to 7 years imprisonment, following his involvement in forgery and stealing of about N3.1million belonging to one of the leading national newspapers in the country.
The court also sentenced former circulation representative of Vanguard newspaper for Benin, Joseph Ejike Ezeobi, to three years imprisonment over his involvement in stealing and forgery.
In her judgment over the matter, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye held that the prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has proved its case against Abiodun and Ezeobi beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them to various prison terms without an option of fines.
The court had convicted Bhadmus Biodun, who resides in No. 5, Tijani Ashogbon St., Bariga, Lagos on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing.
Lawyer to the EFCC, Mr Abba Mohammed, informed the court that Abiodun committed the offence in collaboration with the Vanguard Media Representative for Onitsha, Samuel Ogbole.
Mohammed added that Abiodun committed the offence alongside 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 and still remains at large.
The prosecuting EFCC’s lawyer 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 to 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.
In his verdict over the case, 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 added that the prison terms for counts two to eight are to run concurrently.