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[Ibadan]–Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan has sentenced a former staff of Central Bank of Nigeria, Philip Togun, and an ex-staff of WEMA Bank, Esther Afolabi, to 8 years imprisonment for participating in stealing of N8 billion at the CBN Ibadan branch.

The convicts were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for conspiracy, conversion, forgery, re-circulation of mutilated currencies and stealing CBN’s N8 billion.

Newsmen report that Togun, a former Treasury Assistant at CBN Ibadan branch and Afolabi, have been standing trial  alongside other accused which included Kolawole Babalola, Muniru Olaniran, Festus Adeyemi, Yusuf Fatai, Olukunle Sijuwade, Emanueal Ordia and Patient Okoro, since 2015.

Two others — Ademola Oni and Tope Akintade — had earlier opted for plea bargain and were similarly sentenced upon fulfillment of the terms of the plea bargain.

Sentencing Togun and Afolabi, Justice Joyce Abdulmaleek held that she adopted the plea bargain agreement entered into by them with the EFCC as basis for her judgment.

“I hereby convict the fourth accused person, Philip Togun, for counts 15, 17 and 19 respectively and convict the fifth accused person, Esther Afolabi, for counts 16, 18 and 19 respectively. “Togun is sentenced to three years in prison for each of the three counts of 12 calendar months a year to commence from Jan. 1, 2016.

“The convict shall forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria the following assets found in his possession; a building located in Ibadan and the money in the two bank accounts operated by the convict. “Afolabi is also sentenced to three years imprisonment for each of the three charges, 12 calendar months of the year, commencing from Jan. 1, 2016.

“The convict shall forfeit the following assets which are the proceeds of the crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria — a five-bedroom duplex, a filling station, the entire money scattered across seven different bank accounts in Nigeria,” the judge ruled.

Abdulmaleek included that the sentences would run concurrently.

However, the two defense counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo and Mr Adewole Olajire, expressed dissatisfaction with the sentences, stating that the judge did not consider the date when the convicts were arrested and also did not give full consideration to the plea bargain between the two convicts and the EFCC.

Shortly before the judgment was delivered, the lawyers had pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the former bankers.

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