The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday disclosed that four executive members of the 151 Base Services Group (151 BSG) Multipurpose Cooperative Society, were awarded various sentences over misappropriation of funds in Benue.
The conviction was revealed in a statement NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola issued yesterday.
The statement listed the convicts to include Flight Lieutenant Sherifi Olawoore, Flying Officer Ademola Adekoya, Master Warrant Officer Michael Oyebanji and Warrant Officer Paul Atteh.
It added that the convicts faced before a General Court Martial (GCM), sitting at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, Makurdi, were arraigned for criminal misappropriation of over N41,000,000.00, amongst other offences.
According to the statement, the personnel were sentenced based on their levels of involvement.
Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore Nazib Aliyu pronounced the four accused persons guilty of various charges.
Olawoore was tried for negligently performing his duty as the President of the Cooperative, found guilty, and awarded six months loss of seniority.
In the same vein, Adekoya was tried for negligently performing his duty as Secretary of the Cooperative. He was found guilty and awarded a year loss of seniority.
Oyebanji, who was the Vice President of the Cooperative, was tried on a 46 count charge, including; criminal breach of trust, theft, criminal conspiracy, criminal misappropriation, making of false documents, and conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, contrary to Sections 114 and 103 (d) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Sections 312, 287, 96 and 309 of the Penal Code Cap P3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
He was found guilty on all 46 counts and subsequently sentenced to serve 21 years imprisonment, cumulatively, as well as a reduction in rank to Corporal and ordered to refund all monies misappropriated.
In the same vein, Atteh, who was tried for negligently performing his duty as the Treasurer of the Cooperative as well as for the making of false documents and criminal breach of trust, was found guilty of all three charges.
He was awarded a reduction in rank from WO to Sergeant, in the first instance, and then eventually reduced to the rank of corporal. He is also required to pay a fine of N1, 000,000.00. Meanwhile, the GCM has ordered the release of Atteh from detention.
While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsel urged the Court to show leniency, describing the Accused Persons as first-time offenders.
The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority. However, it is within the rights of the Accused Personnel to appeal the judgment of the GCM, if they are dissatisfied.