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EFCC drags 3 civil servants to court, sentenced to 6 years for payroll fraud

All the defendant’s counsel pleaded for leniency and urged the court to tamper justice with mercy.

3 civil servants bags 6 years jail term each for payroll fraud (PUNCH)

The convicts are; Justin Itemoagbo, Dayo Aliyu and Sylvanus Ojeifo. A fourth officer, Dayang Jacob was discharged and acquitted.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) dragged them to court on a 32-count-charge of criminal conspiracy, theft and cheating by impersonation. Delivering judgment, Justice Peter Kekemeke sentenced them after going through their evidence and that of the prosecution.

“In totality, the evidence of the 1st,2nd and 3rd defendants collapsed like a pack of cards.

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"I, therefore, find the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants guilty as charged.

"The 4th defendant is found not guilty. He is accordingly discharged and acquitted."

All the defendant’s counsel pleaded for leniency and urged the court to tamper justice with mercy and give the convicts the option of a fine. Responding, the prosecution submitted that the sentencing was left at the discretion of the court.

The judge held that the plea of all the defendant's counsel was moving and that the prosecution relied on the discretion of the court.

"The defendants are all approaching 60 years of age. They are aged. They have been out of a job for 8 years.

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"I shall have mercy on them, God does not require the death of a sinner but that all should come unto repentance.

"In count 1, the three defendants are sentenced to 2 years imprisonment or the option of ₦500, each”.

In counts 2 to 23, they are to serve another two years on each count or ₦1 million fine. Counts 24, 25 and 26 are against the 1st defendant, he is sentenced to one-year imprisonment without the option of a fine for each count.

The 2nd defendant is sentenced to one year in counts 27, 29, 30 and 31 respectively without the option of a fine. For the count 32, the three defendants were sentenced to a year in prison or ₦500, 000 fine.

The prosecution said they do not know the exact amount of the Federal government money that was paid as salaries to the defendants.

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"In the circumstance, this court cannot order a refund of federal government money paid as salaries.”

The defendants were arraigned in court for payroll fraud they committed between 2012 to 2015. They were accused of smuggling about 15 names of either deceased workers or retired ones and collected their salaries every month.

The first defendant worked with the human resources department, of the Federal ministry of works while the second defendant worked at the help desk officers, office of the accountant general of the Federation. The third defendant worked at the nominal roll and manpower budget office of the Federal Ministry of works.

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