How Professor duped several Nigerians over foreign degrees – EFCC

Mr. Iornem was first arraigned by the ICPC in 2013.

The absence of Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday stalled the trial of David Iornem, charged with foreign university admission and certificate fraud.

Mr. Iornem was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission, ICPC, before Justice Mohammed in March on a 14-count criminal charge bordering on extortion and money laundering.

Joined as first and second accused in the suit were two universities: Island Open University and Commonwealth University of Belize.

Mr. Iornem, a professor, had, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read out to him.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, slated for commencement of the trial, a court official informed counsel that the case would not go on as the judge was attending a seminar.

A new trial date was later fixed for September 18.

The ICPC counsel, Ebenezer Shogunle, had in the originating summons, alleged that Mr. Iornem ran two unaccredited private foreign universities.

He alleged that the accused duped some unsuspecting Nigerians through fraudulent admission and certificate offers.

Mr. Iornem was said to have conspired with one Bruce Duncan and others at large to commit the crime.

They were alleged to have published advertisements in which they offered fraudulent admissions to some Nigerians.

The prosecuting counsel said the universities were not authorised to operate in Belize, while Mr. Iornem was said to have acted as Consultant and Academic Adviser.

The 14-count charge reads in part: “The accused attempted to dupe the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, of 11,550 dollars for the award of a doctorate degree in 2012.

“He also fraudulently obtained 5,000 dollars from one Albert Oluwatoyin on the pretext that he had been offered university admission to pursue a doctoral degree in philosophy.

“The accused, a professor, also collected 6,800 dollars from one Chief Victor Effiom for the same purpose.

“The accused also converted N34 million proceeds of the illegal universities to acquire a building at Jikwoyi in Abuja in 2012.

“The accused also transferred 307,000 dollars derived from racketeering in the award of honorary degrees of Commonwealth University to acquire a 2-bedroom flat at No. 9, Offord Close in London,’’ Mr. Shogunle said.

The offences allegedly contravened the provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

At the last sitting on May 14, Justice Mohammed, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to enable the accused counsel to properly serve the prosecution with some processes before beginning of trial.

Mr. Iornem was first arraigned in 2013 by the ICPC, which later withdrew and amended the charges and filed them again in March.

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