An attempt by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to arraign a cashier of the Nigeria Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) for fraud was scuttled by the demise of his co-defendant.
The cashier, Bashir Yusuf, was to be arraigned alongside the Director of Finance of NIHOTOUR, Biodun Ilesanmi, on a 4-count charge bordering on fraud before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 28, sitting in Kubwa but could not hold as the court was told that Ilesanmi had passed away.
The two accused persons were charged for conspiring to convert to personal use the sum of N31,247,952.50 (Thirty One Million, Two Hundred and Forty Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty Two Naira, Fifty Kobo).
The offence contravenes Section 26(1) (c) and is punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. They were equally charged for converting another N350,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) to personal use thereby contravening Section 19 of the same Act.
They were also accused of making false statement to the Commission contrary to Section 25(1) and punishable under the same section of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The defence counsel, Gabriel O. Salifu and Susan Oloma, told the court that Ilesanmi, the first defendant, was not in court because he had died at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, Ikeja on April 5th, 2019 after a protracted illness.
Mr. Salifu also informed the presiding judge, Justice K. N. Ogbonnaya, that a photocopy of the death certificate was available and that he had contacted the family of the deceased in order to obtain the original certificate which would be made available to the court. He also said that in the meantime, photocopies would be made available to the court and the prosecution counsel.
In his response, ICPC prosecution counsel, Sulaiman Abdulkarim, raised no objection, but pointed out that there was need to authenticate the genuineness of the certificate before proceeding with the case.
Justice Ogbonnaya then adjourned the matter to 13th June, 2019, saying that Yusuf who is actually the second defendant would be arraigned alone on the said date after the court had sighted the original copy of the death certificate.