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Ex-Edo APC women leader, four others acquitted of N1.5b SUBEB fraud

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An Edo State High Court, Benin, presided over by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, has discharged and acquitted five former top officials of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) over charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, especially the N1.5 billion fraud at the board, between 2013 and 2016.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 5, 2017 arraigned a former Edo Chairman of SUBEB, Prince Stephen Alao, and four other members of the board: Adams Osabuohie, (Director of Finance and Administration), Dove Momodu, Mallam Ali Sulayman (Acting Board Chairman) and Dr. Aisosa Amadasun.

Amadasun is the immediate Edo Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while Sulayman is now an official of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), with the duo and others pleading not guilty to the charges.

Part of the charges preferred against the defendants was: “That you, Prince Stephen Alao, Adams Osabuohien, Dove Momodu, Mallam Ali Sulayman and Dr. Aisosa Amadasun, sometime in the year 2013 to 2016, at Edo State, conspired to commit an offence under Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, No. 5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2000.”

Delivering judgment yesterday in the suit, Justice Ovbiagele struck out the case due to the inability of the EFCC to ensure diligent prosecution, thereby discharging and acquitting the defendants on charges bordering on criminal conspiracy and for conferring corrupt advantage upon themselves and knowingly holding private interest in a contract award and abuse of office, during their tenure as Edo SUBEB members.

While responding to the judgment, Sulayman declared that the verdict showed that there was still hope in Nigeria’s judicial system.

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He said: ‘’We thank God for His mercy. All glory to God. All the efforts to put us down did not work. I made up mind, by the grace of God that I am going to see it through, because I know that I am innocent, from the very beginning.

“We thank God for the depth of judgment. We also thank the efforts of our lawyers and ultimately God, who said innocent persons will not suffer.”

It could not be confirmed at press time yesterday evening, if the EFCC would appeal the judgment.