How Kwara scholarship board officials diverted funds

Abdurrahman Abdurrazaq, Kwara State governor

The trial of the immediate past Chairperson of the Kwara State Scholarship Board, Fatimoh Yusuf, and two others have begun at the State High Court sitting in Ilorin.

Ms Yusuf is facing trial along with the board’s secretary and accountant, Fatai Lamidi and Stephen Ajewole, for allegedly diverting N50 million meant for the payment of 2018 students’ bursary.

The trio are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who arraigned them on 15th January before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye on seven counts bordering on bursary fraud, but they pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the anti-graft agency presented its first witness, Isiaka Adeshina who is an executive member of the National Association of Kwara State Students.

Adeshina told the court that the board’s officials listed his name as one of the beneficiaries of the 2018 bursary award at the University of Ilorin, but he never received any money.

While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, O. Akinsola, the witness narrated how he was shortlisted as number 725 on the list of beneficiaries of the 2018 bursary award released by the Kwara State government.

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“Each student was entitled to the sum of N5,000 but to my surprise, when I was invited by the EFCC, they confronted me with some documents, especially the payment vouchers.

“I found my name among those that have been paid; they signed against my name as a beneficiary, but the signature is not mine, my signature was forged,” Adesina was quoted as saying in a statement by EFCC’s spokesman, Tony Orilade.

He added, “When they started the payment, they did not pay up to 350 students. They told us they were going for Jumat prayer but when they came back, they said the money had finished.”

After listening to the testimony, Justice Oyinloye adjourned the case until Wednesday next week for the continuation of the trial.

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