Deputy Registrar Bags 5 Year Jail Term

An Oyo State High Court has sentenced a former Deputy Registrar of the State Judiciary, Mutiat Adio to five years in prison for stealing.

Our judiciary correspondent, Sunday Ogunyemi who was at the court reports that this is the second time the suspect would be sentenced to prison having been jailed for seven years in 2018 for fraud.

The suspect was first sentenced to jail in 2018 for illegally selling a parcel of land worth nine point two million naira. 

It was gathered that towards the end of last administration in Oyo State, the former Governor Abiola Ajimobi reduced her sentence which fast-tracked her freedom.

Immediately after the freedom, a commercial bank, wrote a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, reporting another fraud the suspect, Mutiat Adio had committed in 2008.

According to the petition, the suspect then was the secretary of the State Judiciary Cooperative Society when the cooperative applied for a loan on behalf of the members. 

The loan was up to 90 million naira, but, unknown to the members, the suspect inflated various sums of money which they applied for. 

For example, a member, who applied for five hundred thousand naira was given five million and another who applied for three hundred thousand naira was given three million. 

When approached the suspect told them to return the excess to her bank which she diverted to personal use. 

According to the charge, the money paid back to her account was twenty-two million, three hundred and seventy-five thousand nine hundred and eleven naira. 

The prosecuting counsel, Dr Ben Ubi called nine witnesses including members of the cooperative society who applied for the loan, while defence counsel, Mr Olaniyi George, called four witnesses. 

The trial judge, Justice O. M. Olagunju said the prosecution had proved the case of stealing against the suspect beyond reasonable doubt, he said confessional statement and the second defendant witness also confirmed that the suspect diverted the returned fund to her personal account.  

Justice Olagunju also said the convict misled the bank to package the amount more than what the members applied for her own benefit. 

He described the act as pure criminality and found her guilty as charged.

Though the defense counsel, Mr Olaniyi George, appealed to the court to be liberal in sentencing her, being a former member of the judiciary in the state.

The prosecution urged the court to give the order for the convict to return the money to the victim of the fraud. 

Pronouncing the judgment, the trial judge, Justice Olagunju sentenced her for the second time, to five years in prison, without any option of fine and ordered her to return the money to Guarantee Trust Bank. 

In an interview, the prosecuting counsel, Dr Ben Ubi said the judgment was a signal to those who were in such habit.

However, the Defence counsel, Mr Olaniyi George said the judgment would be challenged at the Court of Appeal. 

The staff of Nigeria Correctional Center Oyo State Command were already at the court to receive their new guest before reporters left the court premises. Sunday Ogunyemi


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