Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Ex-Prison Official Remanded For Not Reporting Salary Overpayments

Mrs. Opadule Caroline Abimbola

A former worker with the Nigerian Prisons Service, Ondo State Command (now Nigerian Correctional Service) has been arraigned before Justice Olabode Adegbengbe of High Court 5, Akure, Ondo State, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for alleged fraudulent receipt of salary over payments.

A statement from the spokesperson for the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the accused, Mrs Abimbola Opadule, drew up to N1.2m in excess of her statutory salary as a staff member of the service in 2012 and had been remanded, pending when she would satisfy bail conditions set for her by the trial judge.

The statement said, “Mrs Opadule was arraigned before the court on seven counts bordering on dishonesty and corruption. According to the particulars of the case, at various times in 2012, while being a public officer in the employment of the then Nigerian Prisons Service, Ondo State Command, the accused was allegedly overpaid through her First Bank salary account no. 2004992044 amounts that were far above her monthly remuneration, totalling N1.2m.”

The ICPC said the accused failed to report the over payments to the appropriate authority, leading to an investigation by the commission.

It added, “Instead of reporting the anomaly that resulted in the overpayment of her monthly salaries to the Finance and Accounts Department of her organisation, she refused to do so and was investigated by the ICPC when information reached the commission.

“Counts one to five of the charge sheet stated that at various times in 2012, she was outrageously paid amounts that were far above her monthly statutory remuneration, thereby committing fraudulent receipt of property, an offence contrary to Section 13 and punishable under Section 68 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“In the sixth count, the accused was said to have made a false statement to a public officer, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 25 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 25 (1) (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“The last count stated that she used her office to confer corrupt advantage on herself, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.”

The ICPC statement said the accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges, while her counsel, A. O. Oluwole, made an oral application for bail, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel, Kehinde Adetoye.

She was granted bail by the judge on the conditions that she should make a payment of N1.5m and provide two sureties in like sum.

The judge ruled that one of the sureties must be an employee of the state government and must be on Grade Level 10 or above.

She was remanded in the Ondo State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Services until she satisfied the bail conditions, while the case was adjourned till April 1, 2020, for hearing.

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