Court sentences former Maritime Academy staff to 110 years in prison over ₦22m fraud

A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has sentenced a former staff of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Charles Emmanuel Afaha, to 110 years in prison for fraud.

This was contained in a statement released on Friday, January 27, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.

According to him, Afaha was arraigned on October 13, 2018, by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Commission on an eleven-count charge bordering on forgery.

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Afaha, however, pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution, through its counsel, TN Ndifon, called five witnesses and tendered several exhibits which were admitted in evidence.

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Delivering judgment via Zoom on Friday, January 27, Justice Okeke said that “the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the offence of forgery against the defendant in all the counts”.

However, Mfon Ben, the defence counsel, prayed the court “to exercise mercy in sentencing him”.

Afaha was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on each count without an option of a fine. The sentencing runs concurrently from the date of arrest.

The court also ordered that the convict shall restitute the sum of N22, 848, 450. 00 to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, which will serve as a condition for his release upon completing his time in prison.

EFCC, in the statement, said Afaha was arrested following a petition from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, alleging fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

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An investigation revealed that the convict, who worked in the Procurement Department of the Academy, made several retirements of cash advance and received huge sums of money from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron’s account into his personal account for the execution of non-existent projects.

“These funds were retired by Afaha with several invoice receipts attached to the Retirement of Cash Advance memos, signed by him.

“Further investigations also revealed that the said invoice receipts attached to the Retirement of Cash Advance memos by the convict, which amounted to N22, 848, 450. 00 (Twenty-two million, Eight hundred and forty-eight thousand, four hundred and fifty naira) were all forged by Afaha,” the statement added.

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