Insp. Awosanya Adetona, Investigative Police Office (IPO), on Thursday told an Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court that an allegation of embezzlement against Prof. Olushola Adepoju, former Director-General, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), was baseless.
Adetona, a witness in a defamation case against former staff member of FRIN, Abraham Joseph, told the court at resumed hearing that his investigation revealed that the allegation has no substance.
The defendant, Joseph, is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, breach of public peace and publishing defamatory message against Adepoju.
Led in evidence by the Prosecuting Counsel, Mrs Aminat Ameen, the witness further told the court that the defendant could not provide any evidence to buttress his allegation of embezzlement of N17 million union dues and cooperative money belonging to FRIN staff against Adepoju.
The IPO also informed the court that only Adepoju was able to provide documents to clear himself of the allegations levelled against him by the defendant, while the defendant could not provide any.
He said that the document presented by Adepoju to clear himself of the allegation included letters from FRIN staff cooperative, indicating that the issue of N17 million had been settled by Integrated Payroll and Personal System (IPPIS).
The documents were, however, tendered before the court by the prosecuting counsel and was admitted as exhibit.
Adetona said that the defendant was then charged to court for defamatory and conduct likely to cause breach of peace based on legal advice.
Under cross examination by the defendant’s counsel, Mr Omotayo Oluwafemi, the witness confirmed to the court that Adepoju had complained to the police of threat to life and defamation messages against the defendant.
He also confirmed that there was a case lodged at Apata Police Station by the defendant against Adepoju, saying he was not aware of allegation of threat to life by the defendant against Adepoju.
The prosecution then applied for closure of the case.
The defendant’s counsel informed the court that he could not open his case now due to some issues to be addressed and then asked for an adjournment.
Magistrate T.B Oyekanmi, however, adjourned the case until June 19 for further hearing.
The prosecution had informed the court that the defendant and others now at large allegedly conspired with Sahara Reporters, an online medium, to publish a defamatory article against the former Director-General of FRIN.
She further alleged that intention of the defendant by the publication was to tarnish Adepoju’s reputation and caused breach of public peace at the institute, knowing that the publication was false and could led to civil unrest within and outside the country.
Ameen said the incident happened on June 29, 2021 at about 2.00 p.m, adding that the offences contravened Sections 517, 375 and 249(d) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.