Judges’ conference halts ICPC trial of illegal varsity operator

Posted by News Express | 14 October 2015 | 4,277 times

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) could not proceed with the trial of David Iornem, charged for running illegal universities, because of the ongoing annual Judges Conference for Federal High Court Judges in Lafia, Nassarawa State.

The matter slated for continued hearing yesterday, before Justice Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, was adjourned till November 24.

The defendant is facing a 14-count charge bothering on advanced fee fraud, racketeering and money laundering. The charges accused Iornem that between January 2012 to August 2013, with

intent to defraud, induced Prof Ishaq Oloyede, the former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, to pay $11,550 for the award of an academic doctorate degree.

He is also accused of obtaining $5,000 from one Akinkuotu Albert Oluwatoyin, under false pretence that the said victim had been offered admission to pursue a doctorate degree of philosophy in management at Commonwealth University Belize, an illegal and unaccredited university.

The accused was also alleged to have at different times obtained $800 from one Jamilu Rabiu Sani, an undercover operative of the ICPC as application form fee, N1 million from Festus Uwakhemen Asikhna and $6,800 from Victor Ekpo Effiom.

Iornem is also standing trial for converting the sum of N34 million derived from proceeds of participation in racketeering, in the award of academic and honorary degrees of a fake and unaccredited university, owned and illegally operated by him to acquire an office block at Jikwoyi, Abuja.

The accused also transferred the sum of $307,000 derived from racketeering in the illegal university which he falsely represented to be a foreign university based in Belize, to acquire a 2-bedroom flat at No 9, Oxford close, London, with intent to disguise the illicit origin of the funds.

Amongst other charges, he also transferred €11,000 to the London account of Island Open University, proceeds of racketeering, an offence contrary to section 15(1)(a)(ii) and punishable under section 15(2) of the money laundering prohibition Act, 2011.

The ICPC prosecutor is expected to show during hearing, that undercover operation and surveillance were mounted on the defendant during which an investigator posing as Jamilu Rabiu Sani was required to pay the sum of $800 as good faith deposit before being offered admission by the defendants.

In a petition by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to the ICPC chairman with Ref No. NUC/ES/96/Vol. 12/89, the commission noted that it was aware of the illicit activities of the defendant, as he was known to be running online programmes for a number of foreign universities, though he had been challenged severally by the NUC to desist from such activities, as they did not have approval from the commission.

•Photo shows David Iornem.                                                                                

Source: News Express

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