Ezra Odogu, Abuja
A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced a former Chief Accountant of Vanguard Newspaper, Bhadmus Abiodun, to 7 years imprisonment, following his involvement in forgery and stealing of about N40.66million belonging to Vanguard, one of the leading national newspapers in the country.
The court also sentenced former circulation representative of Vanguard newspaper for Benin, Joseph Ejike Ezeobi, to three years imprisonment over his involvement in stealing and forgery.
In his judgment over the matter, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye held that the prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has proved its case against Abiodun and Ezeobi beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them to various prison terms without an option of fines.
The court had convicted Bhadmus Biodun, who resides in No. 5, Tijani Ashogbon St., Bariga, Lagos on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing.
Lawyer to the EFCC, Mr Abba Mohammed, informed the court that Abiodun committed the offence in collaboration with the Vanguard Media Representative for Benin, Joseph Ezeobi.
Mohammed added that Abiodun committed the offence alongside Ezeobi between January 20, 2006 and January 7, 2009.
The prosecuting EFCC’s lawyer further informed the court that the convict and his accomplice had on various dates, illegally converted N4.52million, N18million and N18.14million belonging to Vanguard.
Mohammed said, “Abiodun and Ezeobi had on January 7, 2009 in Lagos, with intend to defraud the Complainant (Vanguard Media Limited), fraudulently converted N800,000 property of Vanguard Media Limited.
“Abiodun and Ezeobi had on November 21, 2007 in Lagos, with intend to defraud Vanguard Media Limited, conspired to forge a Wema Bank Plc deposit slip No. 0278679 purporting to be in the value of N740,000.00 dated November 21, 2007.
According to Mohammed, the offences are contrary to Sections 390 (7), 467 (2)(i) and 516 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State 2003.
In his verdict over the case, Justice Ipaye held that the money Biodun and Ezeobi kept for themselves belongs to Vanguard newspaper.
The judge then convicted former Vanguard chief accountant Abiodun thus: “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 added that the prison terms for counts two to eight are to run concurrently.