The Ondo State Chief Magistrate Court sitting at Ore has sentenced a traditional ruler in the Odigbo local government area of the State, Oba Pius Akinfesola Adewola, to two years imprisonment for thirty six counts-charge of stealing, fraud, illegal conversion of the monthly salaries of his domestic workers and Chiefs, false declaration and impersonation.
The convicted monarch, who is the Akamuja of Igburowoland, was arraigned by the Ondo state government fraudulently refusing to pay salaries of his traditional chiefs and palace workers after collecting same from Odigbo local government for several months.
The convict who bears the traditional title of Akamuja of Igburowo land, preceding his arraignment in the court, with charge number MOR/207/2014, in which Ondo State Government was the complainant and the monarch was the defendant.
It could be recall that in the year 2012, people of his community across all age grades and sexes in a peaceful protest abdicated the monarch and banished him out of the community unceremonious over alleged mis-rule which they claimed has brought the sleepy community into dis-repute.
Similarly, the monarch was also accused of shortchanging traditional chiefs in the community by refusing to pay them their entitlement in full after he has collected same from the local government. Additionally, the community also accused him of engaging in brawl with his chiefs, illegal conversion of the community resources to personal use and writing of fictitious petitions and institution of several court cases against his subjects.
The monarch shortly after his suspension by the Ondo State Government from parading himself as the Akamuja of Igburowo land, he was arrested and detained by the police at the Ondo State Police Command in Akure, the capital of Ondo State, over the allegations.
He was subsequently arraigned in the court on thirty six count-charge of stealing, fraud, illegal conversion of the monthly salaries of his domestic workers and Chiefs, false declaration and impersonation.
Delivery the judgement, the presiding Magistrate, O.J Adelegan, ruled the plaintiff had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Monarch committed the offences.
The Court held that Oba Adewola should go and spend two years in jail or pay a fine of five hundred thousand naira on each of the count- charges.
Magistrate O.J Adelegan, said “from the antecedents so far garnered on the record, the convict appears to me, a conscienceless person, who has no iota of regret, indulging in such an opprobrious and despicable act”
“However, since it is no gainsaying, that our law is no respecter of any personality, I strongly deprecate the ungainly and unbecoming acquisitive conduct of the convict, particularly, his fraudulent instinct to corruptly enrich himself at the expense of others. Though, I have listened attentively to the plea of alocutus by his counsel, but from the available record, I see him as a neophyte, I mean a first offenders”
“Nevertheless, I am strongly of the humble mindset, that if the convict is not appropriately sanctioned, the danger inherent therein, is that people of like minds, may either overtly be influenced or encouraged to see criminality, as a veritable means of livelihood. To this end the convict is hereby sentenced as follows”
“On counts 10-21 of the charge, which are on fraudulent conversion, the convict is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of 500,000.00 on each of the counts”
Lastly, on count 22 of the charge which is on obtaining by false pretense, the convict is also hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of N500,000.00, respectively. In all, both fines and sentences are ordered to run concurrently. The monetary exhibit in this case, which is N408,000.00 is further hereby ordered to be returned to Igburowo community forthwith” he stated.
Reacting, Counsel to the Monarch, Mr Bode Akinkoye described the verdict as fair with option of fine granted by the Court.
Also, counsel to the Ondo State Government from the ministry pf Justice, Mrs. Bola Joel-Ogundadegbe, commended the Court for its thoroughness in the judgement.
Story by: Leke Adegbite