Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on Friday January 21, 2022 convicted and sentenced the quartet of Isaac Ogundimu, John Odaro, Andrew Egharevba and Omorogbe Jacob to seven years imprisonment or a fine of N650, 000 each.
The defendants, executive members of Edo State Welders Association, ESWA, were arraigned in 2017 on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing by conversion and forgery, contrary to the Bendel State Criminal Code Law 1976 as applicable in Edo State and punishable under Section 390 (9) of the same law.
The defendants were said to have converted the sum of N15 million disbursed by the Edo State Government to the Edo State Welders Association for the empowerment of welders in the state to their personal use.
Upon arraignment, the four defendants pleaded not guilty setting the stage for full trial. To prove the allegations against the defendants the prosecution counsel, Moses Arumemi, Austin Ozigbu, Onyeka Ekweozor and Ibrahim Mohammed, called five witnesses and tendered eight exhibits while the defendants filed a no case submission which was dismissed by the court and were ordered to enter their defence.
Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in her judgement found the defendants guilty, convicted and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment or a fine of N650, 000 each.