A Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris wednesday convicted and sentenced an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yisa Olarenwaju Adedoyin, was convicted on the basis of a plea bargain he entered with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The plea bargain agreement was dated May 2, 2017.
The judge arrived at the decision after the commission re-arraigned in absentia the immediate past Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, alongside three officials of INEC, namely: Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olarenwaju and Tijani Bashir.
In sentencing the INEC official who is the second defendant, Yisa Olarenwaju Adedoyin, Justice Idris held that â€œThere is no doubt that the second defendant is an elderly man.
â€œ It is also not in contention that the second defendant is a first time offender.
â€œThis court will temper justice with mercy. The court hereby adopts the plea bargain agreement as the judgment of the court.â€™
In the plea bargain, it was stated that â€œupon the conviction of the second defendant, the honorable court should forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria all that parcel of land and its appurtenances measuring 100ft by 100, lying, being and situate at Taoheed Road, Bufo-Osho village, Ilorin-South Local Government Area, Ilorin, Kwara State which property was acquired and developed with the sum of N23,000,000 from the proceed of the second defendantâ€™s unlawful acts.
â€œThat a fine N10,000,000 is proposed to this honourable court to be imposed on the second defendant upon his conviction on count 4 of the amended charge.
â€œThat in paying the fine of the sum of N10,000,000 the second defendant shall raise a draft of the sum of N5,000,000 in addition to the sum of N5,000,000 already recovered from him vide the attached draft.
â€œThat the honourable court shall direct the EFCC in whose name the draft of N5,000,000 was raised by the second defendant to transfer the value of the said draft to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the Federation.
â€œThe second defendant shall within seven days after the payment of the fine imposed by this honourable court enter into a bond with the EFCC never to be involved in economic and financial crimes within and outside the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€
The EFCC had re-arraigned the defendants for their alleged involvement in money laundering.
But they all pleaded not guilty to the six-count amended charge brought against them by the anti-graft agency.
Prior to the re-arraignment of the defendants, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, had informed Justice Idris that the second defendant, Olarenwaju, had indicated his intention to change his plea from not guilty to guilty plea and also reached a plea bargain arrangement with the commission.
Oyedepo further informed the judge that the anti-graft agency had filed the 2nd amended charge, with a prayer that same should be accepted and read to the defendants for them to take their pleas.
At the last hearing on the matter, Justice Idris had thrown out an earlier plea bargain arrangement reached at by the then convicted first defendant, Christian Nwosu over allegation of money laundering with the anti-graft agency which he had earlier pleaded guilty to.
The judge had clearly maintained that the plea bargain arrangement cannot save the convict from serving a stiffer sentence.
Justice Idris made a declaration that the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) stipulates that such a convict deserves a sentence that is more stiffer.
The EFCC had dragged Allison-Madueke, alongside the three officials of INEC over their alleged involvement in money laundering.
According to the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the INEC officials together with Alison-Madueke on March 27, 2015, conspired among themselves to directly take possession of a total sum to the tune of N500,760,000 which formed parts of proceeds of unlawful act.
EFCC further pointed accusing fingers at Tijani Inda Bashir for taking possession of a sum to the tune of N164,880,000 which forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act, as gratification.