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An Air Force officer identified as Michael Oyebanji has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after sitting before a General Court Martial at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Makurdi.
The Master Warrant Officer (MWO) and three other Air Force officers were sentenced based on their levels of involvement in the fraudulent misappropriation of funds of the 151 Base Services Group Multipurpose Cooperative Society funds.
While Flt Lt Olawoore was tried for negligently performing his duty as the President of the Cooperative and awarded a six-month loss of seniority after being found guilty, Fg Offr Adekoya was tried for negligently performing his duty as Secretary of the Cooperative and awarded a one-year loss of seniority after being found guilty.
WO Paul 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 found guilty of all 3 charges. He was punished with a 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.
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.
He was found guilty on all 46 counts and subsequently sentenced to serve 21 years imprisonment, cumulatively, as well as a reduction in rank to Corporal and ordered to refund all monies misappropriated. President of the GCM, Air Commodore Nazib Aliyu who pronounced the four accused personnel guilty of various charges, has also ordered the release of WO Atteh from detention.
Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola said the sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority. It is however within the rights of the Accused Personnel to appeal the judgment of the GCM if they are dissatisfied.