The trial of the immediate past Chairperson of Kwara State Scholarship Board, Fatima Yusuf, and two others over N100 million Kwara bursary scam, has been adjourned due to the absence of Yusuf’s lawyer, Y.O. Ahmed, in court.
The court adjourned the case to January 26 due to the absence of the counsel to the first defendant.
In a statement issued on Thursday by the Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, said Yusuf was arraigned alongside Fatai Lamidi and Stephen Ajewole before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the State High Court.
The EFCC said the trio were arraigned on seven counts bordering on stealing, fraudulent conversion of government’s funds and forgery.
Lamidi served as the executive Secretary of Kwara State Scholarship Board while Stephen served as the accountant.
The accused persons allegedly embezzled state funds meant for payment of 2018 bursary allowances to students of Kwara State origin in various tertiary institutions.
The statement partly read, “Following the absence of counsel for the first defendant, Akinsola told the court that it would be in the interest of fair hearing to seek an adjournment for the defendant to be present in court with her counsel during trial, to which the two other defence counsel aligned.
“In the circumstance, the court adjourned to January 26, 2021 for continuation of hearing.
“Count two of the charge reads:
“That you, Fatimah Yusuf, (while being the Chairman, Kwara State Scholarship Board), Fatai Lamidi, (while being the Executive Secretary, Kwara State Scholarship Board), and Ajewole Stephen, (while being the Accountant, Kwara State Scholarship Board), between the months of November 2018 and May 2019, in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while acting in that capacity and entrusted with N50,000,000.00 ( Fifty million naira) for the payment of 2018 bursary awards to 10,000 students who are indigenes of Kwara State, dishonestly disposed of N6,269,950 out of the above sum in violation of the direction of law prescribing the mode the trust is to be discharged, thereby committed criminal breach of trust punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code.”
“Particulars of count seven read:
“That you, Fatimah Yusuf, (while being the Chairman, Kwara State Scholarship Board), Fatai Lamidi, (while being the Executive Secretary Kwara State Scholarship Board) Ajewole Stephen, (while being the Accountant, Kwara State Scholarship board) between the months of November 2018 and May 2019 in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while acting in that capacity fraudulently used as genuine forged documents of accounts titled “List of 2018 bursary award payment vouchers” which you knew to be forged and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 366 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 364 of the same law.”
“The defendants who were arraigned on January 15, 2020 had pleaded not guilty to the counts.
“It would be recalled that, some of the affected students called as witnesses in the previous sittings had told Justice Oyinloye that their names and matriculation numbers appeared as beneficiaries of the bursary allowance, but they were never paid.”