By Suleiman Shehu
Ibadan, Oct.26,2022 (NAN) An Oyo State High Court in Ibadan has adjourned N8 million fraud case against Ademola Idowu, a former Executive Director of the National Horticulture Research Institute (NIHORT) and Isiah Ajisafe, former Head of Accounts and Finance of the institute.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had on March 22, arraigned Idowu, Ajisafe alongside the Director of Messrs Sterling Designs Associates Limited, David Ikyobo and his company on a nine- count charge of conspiracy and fraud.
At the continuation of hearing on Wednesday, Counsel to Idowu and Ajisafe, Mr Francis Oloruntoba, told the court that Idowu was currently sick and undergoing treatment outside the country.
Oloruntoba urged the court to grant him an adjournment to enable his client to defend the allegations against him.
The ICPC Counsel, Mrs Faustina Karakaraye, did not, however, oppose the application on the ground of ill health of the defendant.
Justice Maruf Adegbola, said it was reasonable and wise to grant an adjournment based on the ill health of the defendant, especially when the prosecutor did not oppose to it.
Adegbola adjourned the matter until Nov.15 for continuation of hearing.
The prosecutor had informed the court that Ajisafe, a Chartered Accountant, being the Head of Accountants and Finance of NIHORT, received N1.2 million as benefit from Sterling Design and Associates Limited for the appointment of the company as consultant of NIHORT.
Karakaraye further said that Idowu, while serving as the Executive Director of NIHORT between 2008 and 2013, received N1.8 million as benefit from Sterling Design and Associates Limited for the appointment of the company as consultant of NIHORT.
She alleged that Ikyobo and his company gave a total of N3 million as benefit to former NIHORT director and former Head of Accounts and Finance of NIHORT for the appointment of his company as the institute’s consultant.
The prosecutor alleged that the former director and former Head of Accounts and Finance conspired to transfer N5 million from the Personnel Emolument Fund of the institute to the Vegetable Development Company Account for the account opening.
She said that the defendants, being a public officer, used their positions to confer corrupt advantage upon themselves, contrary to section 19 of ICPC Act, 2000.
Karakaraye said the incident happened between Nov.11, 2008 and May 5, 2009 when the defendants were in service.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges and had been granted bail.