IITA Boss, Prof Ogunbodede, In Prison Over N115m Scam

The accused persons

The accused persons

Justice Ayo Emmanuel of a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, has remanded the Director-General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan, Professor Benjamin Adefemi Ogunbodede, and three others in Agodi prison in Ibadan.

The quartet were arraigned on Thursday, October 30, 2014 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds to the tune of N115 million.

According to a statement by the EFCC, the DG and the three other accused persons: Zaccheaus Tejumola, Adenose Clement and Jalekun Omitowoju were petitioned by IITA chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, for allegedly claiming to “have used the sum of N115million to pay hazard allowance to its members in December 2013.”

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“They also alleged that, he claimed to have used the sum of N15 million to harvest crops, when he actually spent N800,000,” the EFCC said in the statement.

One of the counts 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.”

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However, when the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.

“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,” the EFCC said in the statement.

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The matter till November 11, 2014.

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