From right, Prof. Benjamin Ogunbodede, Jalekun Omitowoju, Zacceaus Tejumola and Adenose Clement
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, October 30, 2014, arraigned the Director-General of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IART), Professor Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede and three others on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds to the tune of N115,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifteen Million Naira) only.
Ogunbodede and the three other accused persons: Zaccheaus Tejumola, Adenose Clement and Jalekun Omitowoju were arraigned before Justice .N. Ayo Emmanuel of a Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ogunbodede’s ordeal started when the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, IART’s branch petitioned the EFCC, alleging that the Director-General falsely claimed to have used the sum of N115million to pay hazard allowance to its members in December 2013. They also alleged that he claimed to have used the sum of N15million to harvest crops, when he actually spent N800, 000 (Eight Hundred Thousand Naira only)
When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.
Count One reads: “That you Professor Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede, Zaccheaus Tejumola, Adenose Clement, Jalekun Omitowoju Yisau, Afribiz Viables Ventures, Allied Aque-Forte Ventures, Manifield Mercies Ventures, Agbeloba Agrotech Ventures Limited, Torosbury International Agency Limited, Cradle Engineering Services Limited, Momm Limited, Al-Tora Allied Business, Arieco Trading Ventures, on or about the 6th day of June, 2011 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N115, 750,000 (One Hundred and Fifteen Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) which sum was derived from theft and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 No.11 and punishable under section 15(1)(a) of the same Act”.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court for a trial date and remand the accused persons in prison custody. He opposed the bail applications filed by counsel to the 1st defendant, Tunde Olupona and counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively: I. A Salawu and V.W. Adegboye.
Justice Ayo Emmanuel adjourned the matter till November 11, 2014 for hearing and remanded all the accused persons in Agodi prison, Ibadan.
Head, Media & Publicity
In an earlier version of this story, we had a caption that read “EFCC Arraigns IITA Director General, Three Others for N115m Scam”. The correct caption should have read “EFCC Arraigns IART Director General, Three Others for N115m Scam”.
In the same story, Professor Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede was referred to as the DG of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Professor Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede is actually the Director General of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IART), Ibadan. We express our unreserved apology to the IITA for any embarrassment the error may have caused.
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