N40m Fraud: Court Jails Ex-Vanguard Chief Accountant for 7 years ·As Ex-Circulation Manager Bags 3 years

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A Lagos High Court in Ikeja presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye has sentenced a former Chief Accountant of Vanguard Newspaper, Bhadmus Abiodun, to 7 years imprisonment. He was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing to the tune of N40.66million belonging to his employer, Vanguard Newspapers Limited.

The court also sentenced former circulation representative of Vanguard newspaper for Benin, Joseph Ejike Ezeobi, to three years imprisonment over his involvement in the stealing and forgery. They were jailed without an option of fine.

Prosecution counsel, 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 counsel further informed the court that the convict and his accomplice had on various dates, illegally converted N4.52million, N18million, 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 convicted and sentenced the accountant to seven years in prison on count one to eight. The prison terms for counts two to eight are to run concurrently.

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