A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday sentenced a former Acting Director-General of NIMASA, Calistus Obi, to seven years imprisonment for N136 million fraud.
It would be recalled that Obi was on May 23 convicted along with Alu Dimas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA.
The convicts were arraigned alongside two companies: Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment, on April 12, 2016, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, conversion and money laundering to the tune of N136million (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira).
Presiding Justice Mojisola Olatoregun found the first defendant guilty of counts five, six, seven and eight. The second defendant was also found guilty of counts two and four.
At the last sitting, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, reportedly argued that the defendants wasted the time of the court so they did not qualify to enjoy the discretion of the court in not imposing the maximum sentence.
He said: “This is a time we must begin to make statements that send a signal to public servants and those entrusted with public funds not to betray the trust imposed on them as the court had found in this case.
“The first and second defendant converted the total sum of N111 million to their personal use, while the first, third, and fourth defendants converted the sum of N114 million to their personal use.
“The court has the power to order them to refund the money and compensate the Agency for the funds already utilised.
“We also urge the court to order the forfeiture to the Federal Government of the sum of N30 million recovered by the EFCC from the first defendant.”
Oyedepo urged the court to order the forfeiture of a hotel, La Diva Hotel and Events Centre in Asaba, Delta State, belonging to the first defendant to the Federal Government, saying that, “Doing this will also send a warning signal to intending members of the public who want to dip their hands into public funds.”