An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has discharged the immediate former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, of the fraud allegations levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The court also set free the bursar of the institution, Mr Ayodeji Oresegun, who was dragged to court along with Daramola by the anti-graft agency.
The two accused persons were arraigned on a 17-count charge bordering on corruption, abuse of office, advance fee fraud and conspiracy to steal over N156m belonging to FUTA.
One of the charges according to the EFCC Prosecutor, Dr Ben Ubi included obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Advance Fee Fraud related offences act 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the act.
They were arraigned on charges bordering on obtaining money under false pretences, abuse of office, misappropriation of funds and conspiracy to steal N156, 984,455.33 belonging to FUTA.
Aside from Advance Fee Fraud, the Daramola and Oresegun were accused of conspiracy to commit a felony to illegally place on fix deposit fund of FUTA in a WEMA account without the necessary approval.
The VC was also alleged to have “collected housing allowances whilst living in the government residential quarters, drew furniture allowance annually instead of once in four years as approved by the income and wages commission.”
The charges against the duo read: “That you, Professor Adebiyi G. Daramola and Emmanuel A. Ayodeji Oresegun, on or about the 21st January 2015, at Akure within the Akure Judicial Division of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, conspired to fix the sum of N100,000,000.00 only, property of the Federal University of Technology, Akure in a Wema Bank account No: 1300003035 without due process.”
Daramola and Oresegun, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were freed of 17-count charge bordering on corruption, abuse of office, advance fee fraud and conspiracy
Justice Ademola Bola of the Ondo State High Court had earlier withdrawn from trial following the petition from the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the University comprising Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (SSANU), Non Academic Union of University (NASU) and National Association of Academics Technologists (NAAT) who expressed expressed fear over the judge, saying they have no confidence in the court.
However, the case was transferred to Justice Williams Olamide, who eventually discharged and acquitted the duo of any criminal liabilities in the charges preferred against them by the anti-graft agency.
Reading his verdict, Justice Olamide, said that prosecutors failed to establish before the court all the allegations levied against the appellants.
Justice Olamide stated that he was inclined to believe the claims of the defendants as the prosecution could not sufficiently link them with the crime.
They were however discharged and acquitted of all the charges preferred against them.