The traditional ruler of Igburowo Community in the Odigbo local government area of Ondo State, Oba Pius Akinfesola Adewola, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by an Ore Chief Magistrate court over fraudulent conversion of salaries and obtaining by false pretence.
The monarch, who is the Akamuja of Igburowo, was arraigned by Ondo State government in a charge number MOR/207/2014.
People of the community had in 2012 staged a peaceful protest and banished the monarch from the community over alleged misrule which they claimed brought the sleepy community into disrepute.
Besides, the monarch was accused of short-changing traditional chiefs in the community by refusing to pay their entitlements in full after he had collected same from the local government.
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 with several litigations against his subjects.
Adewola was arrested shortly after his suspension by the state government and detained at the Ondo State Police Command in Akure.
He was later arraigned on a 36-count charge of stealing, fraud, illegal conversion of the monthly salaries of his domestic workers and chiefs, false declaration and impersonation.
Delivering judgement on the matter, Magistrate O.J. Adelegan said: “From the record available to the court, 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 records, I see him as a neophyte, I mean a first offender.
“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 N500,000 on each of the counts.
“On count 22 of the charge which is obtaining by false pretense, the convict is also hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of N500,000 respectively.
“Both the fines and sentences will run concurrently.”