Ex-Registrar jailed four years for embezzling N80m litigant’s money

A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna presided over by  Justice P. Mallong has sentenced a former registrar of the court, Mr Joseph Udoh, to four years’ imprisonment for laundering the sum of N80m.

Udoh and his wife, Grace, were in December 2019 arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on 12 counts for misappropriation of the N80m deposited in the court by a litigant.

According to a statement on Thursday by the ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, the convict issued cheques in the name of his wife, also a staff member of the Federal High Court of Justice, Abuja, and used the money to acquire property in some major cities across the country.

Based on a plea bargain agreement entered with the convict, the charges against him were amended to four counts and those against his wife dropped.

He pleaded guilty to the charges.

The prosecution counsel, Shehu Yahaya, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant according to the terms of the plea bargain agreement before the court as provided in Section 270(10) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Counsel for the defendant, Gbenga Ogunniran, concurred with the submission of the prosecutor, stating that “the convict did not only embarrass himself, but also embarrassed his family.”

The presiding judge, Mallong, convicted and sentenced Udoh to 12 months’ imprisonment on each count, adding that the terms should run concurrently from the date of his arraignment, December 12, 2019.

“The court also ruled that all property seized by the ICPC in the course of investigation, as listed in the schedule of the plea bargain agreement, be forfeited to the commission, and sold with the proceeds given to the victims of the crime.

“In addition, a lien would be placed on the convict’s retirement benefits and/or pension savings for any balance still outstanding against the defendant after the sale of the forfeited properties,” the statement said.

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