A Lagos High Court has sentenced a former chief accountant of Vanguard Newspapers, Bhadmus Abiodun, to seven years imprisonment for fraud.
According to a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade, on Tuesday, Mr Abiodun was charged before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery, and stealing of about N3.1 million belonging to his employer.
The commission said the court also sentenced a former circulation representative of the newspaper, Benin Office, Joseph Ezeobi, to three years imprisonment over his involvement in the forgery.
According to the statement, Mr Abiodun committed the crime between January 9, 2006, and January 4, 2008.
The EFCC said the offences are contrary to Sections 390 (7), 467 (2)(i) and 516 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State 2003.
The prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, told the court that Mr Abiodun committed the offence in collaboration with the Vanguard Media Representative for Onitsha, Samuel Ogbole.
”But Mr Ogbole was said to have absconded when bail was granted to the duo by the court after their arraignment. He is still at large,” he said.
Mr Mohammed 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 Vanguard.
“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 and forged a Wema Bank deposit slip with No. 3270712 purporting to be the value of N256, 850,” Mr Mohammed said.
Justice Ipaye, however, ruled that the money the duo kept for themselves belongs to Vanguard newspaper.
“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 said.