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Court jails 3 civil servants over collection of salaries of 15 ghost workers for 4 years

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An FCT High Court on Wednesday, sentenced three civil servants to six years imprisonment each for payroll fraud.

The convicts are Justin Itemoagbo, Dayo Aliyu and Sylvanus Ojeifo.

A fourth officer, Dayang Jacob, was discharged and acquitted.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) dragged them to court on a 32-count charge of criminal conspiracy, theft and cheating by impersonation.

Delivering judgement, Justice Peter Kekemeke sentenced them after going through their evidence and that of the prosecution.

“In totality, the evidence of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants collapsed like a pack of cards. I, therefore, find the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants guilty as charged. The 4th defendant is found not guilty. He is accordingly discharged and acquitted,” the judge ruled.

All the defendant’s counsel pleaded for leniency and urged the court to tamper justice with mercy and give the convicts option of fine.

Responding, the prosecution submitted that the sentencing is left at the discretion of the court.

The judge held that the plea of all the defendants counsel is moving and that the prosecution relied on the discretion of the court.

The judge said: “The defendants are all approaching 60 years of age. They are aged. They have been out of job for eight years.

“I shall have mercy on them, God does not require the death of a sinner but that all should come unto repentance.

“In count 1, the three defendants are sentenced to 2 years imprisonment or option of N500,000 each.

“In counts 2 to 23, they are to serve another two years on each count or N1 million fine.

“Count 24, 25 and 26 are against the 1st defendant, he is sentenced to one year imprisonment without option of fine in each count.

“The 2nd defendant is sentenced to one year in count 27, 29, 30 and 31 respectively without option of fine.

“For the count 32, the three defendants were sentenced to a year in prison or N500,000 fine.”

The prosecution said they do not know the exact amount of the Federal Government money that was paid as salaries to the defendants.

“In the circumstance, this court cannot order a refund of federal government money paid as salaries,” he said.

The defendants were arraigned in the court for payroll fraud they committed between 2012 and 2015.

They were accused of smuggling about 15 names of either deceased workers or retired ones and collected their salaries every month.

The first defendant worked with human resources department, Federal ministry of works while the second defendant worked at the help desk officers, office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The third defendant worked at the nominal roll and manpower budget office of the Federal Ministry of Works.

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BANDITRY: Gunmen abduct former Benue CoS’s wife, house help

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By Francesca Hangeior

Suspected herdsmen have abducted the wife and house help of former Chief of Staff to Benue Governor Terwase Orbunde.

Hon.Orbunde was Chief of Staff to former Governor Samuel Ortom.

He later resigned to contest the PDP governorship primary. He later joined the All Progressive Congress (APC) but still lost out of the race.

The attack was said to have taken place close to the Genocide Cemetery along Mobile Barracks-Welfare Quarters Road in Makurdi, the state capital around 6pm on Friday.

The former Chief of Staff escaped with a gunshot on his right arm while the attackers whisked away Mrs Abigail Kashimana Orbunde, and her house help, Patience Ogute.

Eyewitnesses said the trio had gone to inspect the weeding of their farm located close to the road.

They said after the inspection and payment of the workers, five gunmen suddenly attacked them as they walked back to the car.

It was reported that they shot Orbunde on the right arm while ordering the women to follow them to an unknown destination.

The shooting was said to have made villagers and passersby to scamper for safety in different directions.

As they marched along, the former Chief of Staff was said to be bleeding profusely and slowed down from walking.

The eyewitnesses, who watched from a distance, said the leader of the group ordered him to walk away while the gunmen took the women away before good Samaritans rushed Orbunde to the hospital.

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Marriage palaver: My wife told me only 1 out of our 3 children is mine —Husband

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A plumber, Mr Desmond Igbo, has dragged his wife, Rosemary, before a Customary Court in Jikwoyi, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), accusing her of giving birth to two children for another man.

The petitioner, who resides within the jurisdiction of the court, said this in a divorce petition he filed against his wife in court.

“My wife is having extra- marital affairs. She confessed to me that only my second child is my biological child.

“She said that the other two were not my biological children.

“I have been taking care of them for 13 years.

” This is heartbreaking. It is on this issue that I seek to divorce my wife,” he said.

He also told the court that there was no love and understanding in their marriage.

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Nigerian Policemen Extort N100,000 From Cyprus Returnee In Lagos After Seizing His Phone

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Some policemen on mufti have extorted N100,000 from a Nigerian returnee from Cyprus, Rahmon Olamilekan Adekunle, at the tunnel in Berger linking Magodo, Lagos State.

Adekunle, who contacted SaharaReporters shortly after the “robbery” by the Nigerian police officers, explained that incident happened while he was taking his girlfriend who had exam in the morning to school.

He said that the policemen who were on mufti accosted him around some minutes to 7am, at the tunnel in Berger linking Magodo.

“They forcefully took my phone, after going through my phone, they discovered that I just returned to Nigeria; they forced me to transfer the sum of N100,000 to a Point of Sale (POS) operator.

“My girlfriend has a examination to take this morning and already they have seized my phone and I don’t have any means to reach out to any of my family members or even the police authorities. So I had to transfer the N100,000 to a POS Operator there, which I don’t know whether they came with the person.

“Because I don’t want my girl to miss her exam, I had to pay the money and continue my journey. I have contacted the state Police Public Relations Officer SP Benjamin Hundeyin but he did not pick up his calls. I also sent him a text message but he is yet to respond.

“As I speak to you I don’t know which station they (policemen) came from.”

Meanwhile, SaharaReporters’ efforts to speak with the State Police Public Relations Officer SP Benjamin Hundeyin, were unsuccessful as he simply said “Please I am busy and can’t talk now.”

As at the time of filing this report he was yet respond to a text message inquiry on the incident.

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