An Ondo State Magistrate Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, has sentenced a former Vice Chancellor of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, Prof. Adekunle Oloyede, to five years imprisonment for $1.2 million fraud.
Justice Aderemi Adegoroye jailed the professor after finding him guilty on all six counts of false pretences, stealing and fraud contrary to the anti-graft laws of the state.
The accused, Oloyede, was said to have fraudulently obtained the sum of $720,000 for the construction of a 500-bed space at the school, while he also obtained the sum of $250,000, $150,000, and $620,000 at different times.
The money was collected from Mike Ade Investment limited for Duro Global Property under the false pretence of using the amount for the construction of a hostel for the institution.
The Professor of Medical Engineering was dragged before the Court by the State Legal Officer, represented by Mr O.E Akintan, who told the court of the professor to stand accused of conspiracies to steal and to obtain by false pretence contrary which are punishable under section 516 of the criminal code.
In the evidence before the court, several amounts running into millions in foreign currency was paid into the account linked to Oloyede and his cronies for the importation of panel for the construction of a hostel for students of the university.
The court heard that despite the payment for the panel and for the shipment of the materials from Australia to Ilara-Mokin in Ondo State, the former Vice Chancellor failed to execute the projects, leading to his arrest and prosecution for alleged fraud by the state government.
Oloyede, while denying the allegation of fraud against him, said he made a presentation of his ideas and innovation of making the school world-class to Chief Ade Ojo, saying the founder was impressed.
He said one of his ideas was to have a revenue-generating portfolio and it was the idea that brought in the suggestion of the school having a factory to manufacture panels for building affordable houses.
The Counsel to Oloyede, Chief Kunle Ijalana, said the matter before the court was contractual and not criminal in nature contrary to the charges brought against the accused and, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the charges.
Recall, we reported that the embattled VC had some time in 2015 visited the institution ahead of his September appointment date as the second substantive Vice-Chancellor of the university.
During the visit, Oloyede had seen a new 512-bed male hostel project whose contract had just been awarded for $1.8m.
Even though a contractor had been mobilised to the site, the institution said Oloyede advised and persuaded the university’s founder, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, to discontinue the project and adopt a new technology called PIR Panel Building Technology.
According to him, that would make the completion of the building to be faster and ready by August 2015, while also saving 40 per cent of the original contract sum.
Fascinated by the new technology, Ade-Ojo had agreed to adopt it, believing that the hostel would be ready by August 2015, ahead of the students’ resumption that year.
Based on the incoming VC’s recommendation, Ade-Ojo, between March and July 2015, transferred a total sum of $1.2m to an Australia-based firm that was introduced by Oloyede — Duro Global PTY Ltd.
However, Justice Adegoroye said the prosecution has proved the charge against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and consequently found him guilty as charged, sentencing the accused to five years with an option of a fine of N350.000.00.
The Court also sentenced Oloyede to another three years with an option of a fine of N250.000.00 and said the prison terms shall run cumulatively.
Justice Adegoroye ordered that in facilitating restorative justice as provided under Section 290(6) ACJL of the state 2015, the defendant should refund the sum of $131,500 being the balance obtained from Chief Ade Ojo and the money should be paid within six months of failure which the defendant shall serve additional one year in prison.