4th August, 2021
By Nimot Sulaimon
A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, adjourned the trial of Stephen Oshinowo, a former Executive Secretary, Lagos State Scholarship Board, for an alleged N127m fraud.
Earlier in July, the EFCC arraigned Oshinowo on an amended eight-count charge bordering on criminal conversion to the tune of N127,000,000 (One Hundred and Twenty-Seven Million Naira only).
One of the counts reads: “That you, Stephen Oshinowo, sometime in 2018, in Lagos and within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, being a civil servant, dishonestly converted to the use of Oshinowo Adenike the total sum of N30 Million (Thirty Million Naira), property of Lagos State Board.”
Another count reads: “That you, Stephen Oshinowo, between 8th day of February 2016 and 30th day of December in Lagos and within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, being the Secretary of Lagos State Scholarship Board, dishonestly converted to your own use, through Julikam International Limited, the sum of N39, 934,919 (Thirty -Nine Million Nine Hundred and Thirty-Four Thousand Nine Hundred and Nineteen Naira) property of Lagos State Board.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial.
However, when the prosecuting counsel, Abbas Muhammed, sought to tender the defendant’s confessional statements made to the EFCC during the course of the trial, the defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, raised objections, arguing that it was obtained under physical and emotional torture.
The objection prompted the need for the commencement of a trial-within-trial, which commenced on March 7, 2021, to test the voluntariness or otherwise of the statement made to the EFCC.
Delivering the ruling today, Justice Taiwo overruled the objection and admitted the statements of the defendant made to the EFCC on November 29, 2019; December 7, 2019; December 9, 2019, and December 23, 2019, as exhibits G, G1, G2 and G3.
Thereafter, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned till October 8, 2021, for the continuation of the trial.