Supreme Court upholds 12-year jail term for polytechnic ex-boss

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The Supreme Court has affirmed the 12-year jail term handed down to a former Chairman, Governing Council of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Dr. Saadu Alanamu, by the High Court.

Spokesperson of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua disclosed the development in a statement in Abuja.

Alanamu, before his conviction by the lower courts, was nominated in 2017 into the board of the ICPC before he was dropped following allegations of corruption.

He was investigated by ICPC on allegations of receiving N5 million from a contractor as kickback for award of contracts in the polytechnic and was found guilty by Justice Mahmud Abdulgafar, who sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Dr. Alanamu approached the Court of Appeal, urging it to quash the judgment of the trial court.

However, the appellate court upheld the judgment of the lower court and dismissed Alanamu’s appeal for lack of merit, having listened to the arguments from both the prosecution and defense counsel.

Still not satisfied with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, the former governing council chairman approached the Supreme Court on four grounds of appeal, to upturn the judgments against him by the trial and appellate courts.

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His counsel, Professor Amuda Kanike (SAN), had argued at the Supreme Court that the ICPC Act, 2000, under which the convict was tried had been purportedly repealed by ICPC Act, 2003.

He further raised the issue of whether or not the appellant could be validly tried and convicted for different offences under different counts in the same trial based on the same set of facts.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court struck out all the grounds of appeals as incompetent, misconceived and lacking in merit and accordingly affirmed the conviction and sentencing of Alanamu to 12 years imprisonment based on the same fact handed down to him by the appellate and trial courts.

Also, the Supreme Court has set aside conviction of three lawyers who were also barred from practicing in Nigeria over alleged professional misconduct.

The lawyers, Mamman Waziri, Olayori Muideen and Dr. Osaretin George Izegbuwa, were earlier sanctioned by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPPDC) for various misconducts in the discharge of their professional duties.

But in separate judgments of the apex court, yesterday, the disciplinary measures against them were voided and set aside, having been done in breach of provisions of laws guiding disciplinary issues.

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The court, which acted on the lawyers’ appeal for review of their sanctions, found that they were denied fair hearing.

Justice Ejembi Eko who delivered the unanimous judgments of the apex court through Zoom held that the actions of LPPDC panels, which led to punishment of the lawyers, were not consistent with provisions of the law.

The judge, therefore, faulted their convictions on various grounds, particularly on the composition of the panels, as some of the members who signed the verdict against the lawyers were found not to have participated in the whole proceedings as required by law.

Having set aside the conviction, Justice Eko ordered that the three lawyers be made to face different panels to be constituted by LPPDC.

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