Federation Auditor General retiree sentences to jail

Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, has sentenced one Charles Aiyeyi, a retiree from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, to a one year imprisonment.

The convict whose charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was bordering on conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and making false statement to a public officer with intent to pervert the course of justice.

The court, however granted him an option of N1million fine.

Aiyeyi, 66, alongside one Friday Itsede, were arraigned by the EFCC before court on a two-count charge for their involvement in the stalling of the trial of one Jerome Itepu, Chief Executive Officer of Omo-Jay Nigeria Limited.

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution witness, Callistus Egwuonwu, testified that sometime in 2015, the EFCC received a petition against some persons which included Jerome Itepu.

He told the court that in the course of investigation, Itepu was in 2018 invited for interrogation, which he honoured and he made statement, following which he was granted administrative bail.

In fulfilling the bail condition, the suspected fraudster provided the two defendants who stood as sureties for him. Aiyeyi had produced a letter of introduction from the Office of the Auditor General in which he was introduced as a staff of the Office. The second defendant told investigators that the suspect was a “blood relation” and that he could produce him anytime. They both signed a bond of N18 million each.

Consequently, the suspect was released to the defendants, but he jumped bail, became incommunicado, while the defendants failed, despite promises and assurances, to produce him.

Thereafter, the EFCC arrested the defendants and charged them to court for perverting the course of justice. Though charges had been drawn against the suspected fraudster, he could not be arraigned in court as he remained in hiding and the defendants failed to produce him.

It was later discovered that at the time the first defendant introduced himself to the EFCC as a staff in the Office of the Auditor General, he had in fact at the time retired from active service.

In the course of the trial, the defendants also filed a no-case submission which was dismissed by the Court.

Delivering judgement yesterday, Justice Dada discharged and acquitted the second defendant holding that as argued by the defence, Exhibit P3 which was the bail condition, required only one surety, a level 14 civil servant, which in the instance was Aiyeyi.

The Judge thereafter held that the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the first defendant and so sentenced him accordingly.