Judiciary

Court Acquits OAU’s Former Acting VC, Bursar

An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has discharged and acquitted the former Acting Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Anthony Elujoba and former Acting Bursar, Mrs Josephine Akeredolu of allegations of abuse of office and financial misappropriation. 

The two were alleged of fraud and conspiracy by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. 

They were arraigned in 2017 before an Ede High Court on seven counts of conspiracy, stealing, payment of Earned and Productivity Allowance of N1.4 billion to the staff of the university without authority’s approval, illegal payment of furniture allowance, abuse of office and conversion of money belonging to the university.

During the trial, prosecution counsel, Mr M. S. Usman called three witnesses and tendered various documents to prove, while counsel to the first defendant, Mr Abiodun Olabanpe and Mr Segun Akeredolu, who represented the second defendant entered a no-case submission.

Delivering judgment in the matter, Justice Wasiu Akanbi said the prosecution failed to prove the case of illegal payment of furniture allowance beyond reasonable doubt. 

Justice Akanbi said the evidence of prosecution witness two(PW2), as well as the letter of appointment of the Acting Vice-Chancellor, tendered before the court showed that the first defendants had right to fringe benefits attached to the office.

He declared that the Prosecution Witness Two and Three contradicted themselves on whether the first defendant could be paid furniture allowance on a proportional basis.

The judge added that the University, the owner of the money did not complain of any missing money or fraud against the accused persons.

On the payment of Earned Allowances and Productivity bonuses to workers in the University in 2017, the judge noted that considering the circumstances leading to the payment, which was the peak of the life threatening crisis, the former Acting Vice Chancellor did not act outside his powers.

Justice Akanbi maintained that since neither the Obafemi Awolowo University nor the Federal Ministry of Education complained of any missing fund, such payment could not be said to be a gratification, especially when the University was owing its staffers about 50 months allowances.

Adenitan Akinola

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