By Temitope Owotoki
A High Court in Borno State has convicted a school proprietress, Josephine Udeh, for falsely converting N5 million, meant for the 2017/2018 WAEC registration fees from 284 students of her school, for private use.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), in a statement, said Ms Udeh was charged before Justice Aisha Kumaliya on a one-count charge of fraud.
It stated that Ms Udeh, who was the Proprietress of Dala Standard Secondary School, Maiduguri, collected the said sum meant for the WAEC registration fees and converted it to her private use between 2017 and 2018.
She had pleaded not guilty upon her arraignment on April 24, 2019.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution presented 10 witnesses and 10 exhibits which pushed her to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC.
The commission said her offense is contrary to Section 308 of the Penal Code Law cap 102 Laws of Borno State of Nigeria and punishable under Section 309 of the same Law.
In the course of trial, Benjamin Manji, the Prosecution Counsel, asked the court to substitute an earlier charge filed on the April 9, 2019 with an amended charge of the day, July 31, 2019.
She pleaded guilty to the amended charge in line with the plea bargain agreement she opted for.
Following her guilty plea, the prosecution counsel prayed the court to convict her as charged.
However, the defense counsel, B.G Sanda, prayed for leniency and urged the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant has already repaid the misappropriated sum.
Consequently, Justice Kumaliya pronounced her guilty as charged with a fine of N150,000. She is to spend one year in prison custody if she defaults in the payment of the fine.