Court Clears NIHORT Ex Director, Ademola Idowu of Bribery Charge

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Justice Maruf Adegbola of an Oyo High Court has discharged and acquitted a former Director of the National Horticultural Research Institute, Ademola Idowu, on a bribe charge.

Also discharged and acquitted along with him were NIHORT Accountant, Isaiah Ajisafe; and David Ikyobo, a Consultant.

Ikyobo’s company, Messrs Sterling Design and Associate Limited, was also acquitted.

Justice Adegbola in his judgment held that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the money allocated to NIHORT was misappropriated.

The Judge held: “The defendants are accordingly discharged and acquitted of all the nine counts charge.

“The charge is hereby struck out.”

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related offences Commission filed a nine count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraud against Idowu, Ajisafe, Director of Messrs Sterling Designs Associates Limited, David Ikyobo and his company.

The ICPC alleged that Ikyobo and his company gave N3 million as kickback to the former NIHORT Director and former Head of Accounts and Finance to be appointed as the institute’s consultant.

The commission alleged that Ajisafe, a Chartered Accountant, being the Head of Accountants and Finance of NIHORT, received N1.2 million as benefit from Sterling Design and Associates Limited.

The prosecution further alleged that Idowu, while serving as the Executive Director of NIHORT between 2008 and 2013, received N1.8 million as a benefit from Sterling Design and Associates Limited.

The prosecutor alleged Idowu and Ajisafe conspired to transfer N5 million from the Personnel Emolument Fund of the institute to the Vegetable Development Company Account for the account opening.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants, being public officers, used their positions to confer corrupt advantage upon themselves, contrary to section 19 of ICPC Act, 2000.

The ICPC said the incident happened between November 11, 2008 and May 5, 2009 when the defendants were in service

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