NAF jails officer for 21 years, demotes others in multimillion fraud sentence

A general court martial sitting at the Nigeria Air Force Base in Markurdi has handed down 21years imprisonment, reduction in ranks as punishment to four executive members of the 151 Base Services Group Multipurpose Cooperative Society in Markurdi.

Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Sherifi Olawoore, Flying Officer (Fg Offr) Ademola Adekoya, Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Michael Oyebanji and Warrant Officer (WO) Paul Atteh had been standing trial for misappropriating over N41 million before they were finally sentenced September 24.

According to NAF PRO, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore Nazib Aliyu, convicted Flt Lt Olawoore of negligently performing his duty as the President of the Cooperative, and was awarded a six-month loss of seniority; Fg Offr Adekoya was tried for negligently performing his duty as secretary of the cooperative, and was awarded one year loss of seniority.

“MWO Oyebanji, who was the vice president of the cooperative, was tried on a 46 count charge, including, criminal breach of trust, theft, criminal conspiracy, criminal misappropriation, making of false documents and conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, contrary to Sections 114 and 103 (d) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Sections 312, 287, 96 and 309 of the Penal Code Cap P3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004., an official release from NAF stated.

“He was subsequently sentenced to serve 21 years imprisonment, cumulatively, as well as reduction in rank to Corporal and ordered to refund all monies misappropriated.

“WO Atteh, who was tried for negligently performing his duty as the treasurer of the cooperative as well as for the making of false documents and criminal breach of trust, was convicted of all.”

He was awarded reduction in rank from WO to Sergeant, in the first instance, and then eventually reduced to the rank of Corporal. He is also required to pay a fine of N1,000,000.00.

While pleading in mitigation, the defence counsel urged the court to show leniency, describing the Accused Persons as first-time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.

“However, it is within the rights of the Accused Personnel to appeal the judgment of the GCM, if they are dissatisfied,” said Daramola.