Accountant jailed 304 years


The accountant of the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amugu, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State, Emmanuel Sombo has been sentenced to 304 years imprisonment for forgery and  an Enugu State High Court.

He was convicted on Thursday after a lengthy trial that started in 2010. He had pleaded not guilty to the 61 count charges slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was alleged to have, on several occasions, forged the signatures of the principal officers of the institution on promissory notes, which he used to withdraw amounts running into N34 million from the institution’s first bank account for his personal use.

The principal officers including the Provost, the Registrar and the Bursar denied signing the cheques with which the accused withdrew the monies.

The EFCC’s forensic experts who took samples of the principal officers’ signatures confirmed that the signatures on the cheques used in the transactions were forged.

Delivering judgement on the matter, the presiding judge, Kenneth Okpe, ruled that the facts before the court proved that the accused personally forged the signatures.

He said: “The court is satisfied that the circumstantial evidence placed before it is cogent, compelling and points irresistibly to the fact that the accused person committed the offence as charged. He acted alone and is still alone as he could not call even one witness from the College to support his defence.

“These elements of the offence are present in the instant case, and I, therefore, hold that the prosecution has proved all the ingredients of the offence of forgery beyond every reasonable doubt

Accordingly, I find the accused guilty of forgery as charged in counts 32 to 61.
“All the elements of stealing are present in this case. The accused person in his statement to the EFCC said he knew that the disputed cheques were fraudulently issued but he was asked by his boss to play along.
“He cashed the cheques, disbursed the proceeds in a manner that permanently deprived the Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu, the ownership of the money. I, therefore, find the accused person guilty of the offence of stealing as charged in counts 1 to 31.”
Before the judgement was passed, the defence counsel, Gabriel Ibu, had pleaded for leniency, arguing that the accused person was the breadwinner of his family.
He said: “He has a wife and three children, and his absence will affect their education. We urge the court to be lenient as the punishment which should serve as deterrent will serve its purpose and not destroy the young man.”
Counsel to the EFCc, however, urged the court to ensure that justice was served, adding that the accused should be made to restitute the amount he had stolen from the school.
After listening to both parties, the judge passed the court’s verdict, saying, “The accused person, Emmanuel Sombo, is hereby sentenced to seven years imprisonment for each of the offences of stealing in counts one to 31 in the amended information, (217 years).
“He is also sentenced to three years imprisonment for each of the offences of forgery in counts 32 to 61 of the amended information, (87 years.] However, the entire sentence is to run concurrently with effect from today. This is my judgement in this case


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