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Ogunlewe, FUNAAB VC, ex-bursar docked over alleged financial fraud

THE Pro-chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, the vice-chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole and former bursar, Mr Moses Ilesanmi, were on Friday, docked, over allegation of stealing , abuse of office and fraudulent conversion of government property to private use.

The trio had been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), since last Wednesday, in Ibadan, upon receipt of invitation for trial from the anti-graft agency.

They were docked before Justice O.O. Majekodunmi of the Ogun State High Court 6, Isabo, Abeokuta, on 18 count charge separately and jointly, respectively.

Tribune Online recalled that some concerned members of the university had written a petition against the trio, and they were interrogated by the anti -graft agency, before their arraignment.

When the charges were read to the three accused persons, they all pleaded not guilty to them.

Counsel to Ogunlewe, Wale Adesokan (SAN), informed the court that a bail application dated November 24, had been filed before the court, relying sections 6 and 36 of the Constitution and Section 118 of the Criminal Procedure Law.

He said that the same application was equally served on the prosecution, saying the application was supported by 26 paragraphs affidavit and a written address.

Adesokan told the court that the charges are bail able offence and that it attracts two and seven years imprisonment, while adding that the travel documents of Ogunlewe is in the custody of the EFCC.

Similarly, Counsel to Oyewole, Benjamin Ogunmodede, also informed the court of a pending bail application, which he said was dated same date.

He based his argument on Sections 118 (2)(3) of the Criminal Procedure Law of Ogun State 2006 and Sections 158 and 162 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 saying that it’s the constitutional right of the accused person to be admitted to bail.

He however relied on Supreme Court case in Suleiman vs Commissioner of Police, 2008 and a Court of appeal case in Mamman vs State, 2013 to back his argument.

While Counsel to Illesanmi, who is the third accused person, Adedamola Lapite, also informed the court that his own bail application was filed on Friday morning and served same on the prosecution.

He prayed the court to allow his client to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted him by EFCC, pending the time the EFCC counsel would respond to the application.

But the EFCC counsel, Dr Benedict Ubi, opposed all the three applications adopting written submissions before the court.

Ubi, while explained that the liberty of the accused person and presumption of innocence is, in the face of the law, not absolute adding that same can be curtailed under circumstances.

He told the court that the duo of Ogunlewe and Oyewole were interfering with investigation and the affairs of the University, submitting that they had sacked staff members believed to be connected with the case since the investigation started.

Ubi submitted that Ilesanmi could no longer enjoy the administrative bail since he had been produced in court, while asking the court to remand him in proper custody until Monday when he would be ready to reply to the application.

In his ruling, Justice Majekodunmi granted bail to the first and second accused persons in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties, according to the judge must also be a level 15 officer in the State Civil Service, while all of them must have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.

They were also to deposit the documents of the properties with the registrar of the court.

The third accused person was however remanded in the custody of the agency until Monday when his bail application would be argued.