A Federal High Court has sentenced a former Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), John Shamonda, to one year imprisonment for mismanagement of funds.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, on Thursday, it said Mr Shamonda was tried before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 10-count charge of “diversion of N603 milion”.
The commission said Mr Shamonda’s offence is contrary to sections 16, 17(1)(c) and 22(5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
The ICPC added that the convict had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
According to the statement, the prosecution counsel presented seven witnesses while 26 documents were admitted as exhibits.
The court was also told that Mr Shomonda in 2012 had requested a sum of N603 million for the rehabilitation and replacement of damaged hydrological equipment across the country following the devastating flood that occurred while he was the DG of NIHSA.
Similarly, the court was also informed that the former DG did not follow the ‘procurement plan’ in disbursing the money for which the money was released. He rather spent the cash frivolously.
”Instead, Mr Shamonda approved that N2.8 million be used for Sallah welfare package which was paid to all staff of the agency. Also, he spent N25.7 millon on a ‘National Stakeholders Workshop’.”
Mr Shamonda was also accused of purchasing two Toyota Prado jeeps and two Hiace buses totaling the sum of N49.2 million.
Option of fine
Justice Ademola found the accused guilty and sent him to one year in jail with an option of paying a fine of N50,000 each on counts 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10. The terms are to run concurrently if he failed to pay the fine.
He was discharged and acquitted on counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.
“This is no doubt a very unfortunate case as all the witnesses had testified that no money was traced to the personal account of the convict. It seems to me that the convict is merely answering (for) his overzealousness. However, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
“The essence of sentencing is not only to punish the convict but to send a warning signal to the general public,” the judge reportedly said.