A Federal High Court in Yola on Thursday sentenced a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chairman, Binanu Esthon and Magistrate Shehu Mustapha, to three years in prison each for fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Esthon and Mustapha with seven counts bordering on fraud in before 2015.
Delivering judgment, Justice Bilkisu Aliyu, held that the convicts were sentenced for stealing and defrauding 502 retired staff of the Sterling Civil Engineering Nigeria limited in Adamawa in 2007 of N67 million.
She held that Mustapha stole money belonging to 502 retired workers of the debtor company.
“The convicts stole from workers who retired and were not paid any benefit over the years.
“The second convict as a judicial officer who was in the position of authority to give the retired workers justice and reprieve failed to do so. Rather, caused untold hardship on them.
“Mustapha has done a great disservice to the administration of justice in general and his conduct is highly condemned,” she held.
On Esthon, she said, as counsel for the complainants, he failed in his sacred duty to uphold the rule of law and ensure justice was upheld always as a lawyer.
Aliyu held that Esthon participated in causing more harm to his clients whose interest he ought to protect.
She held that the three years sentence was the maximum punishment provided for the offence of criminal conversion by Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 LFN 2004 and demand for the amendment.
She ordered the EFCC to take urgent steps to recover the money for onward payment to the retired workers.
Reacting to the judgment, EFCC counsel, Mr. Ahmad Muntaka, said justice has taken it to course in the trial.
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