By Aderogba George
An FCT High Court sitting in Jabi has sentenced Lebi-Ayodele James, a staff of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to two years in prison for forging the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) certificate.
The judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, who did not give the convict an option of fine on Friday, ordered him to pay N100,000 in restitution.
The Judge said that the convict would have rose to the position of the Auditor General of the Federation with a forged certificate in the nearest future if the forgery had not been discovered.
According to Halilu, the sentence will serves as a lesson to the convict and others who procure fake certificates and those who might intend to engage in such act in the future.
“The convict knew full well that he never had ICAN certificate. He forged the certificate and eventually got elevated from Executive officer to a Senior Auditor.
“In a country where securing government employment is a huge challenge, and with the army of graduates who have truly earned better certificate but remained unemployed.
“Government should scrutinise all employees in her pay role to ensure only those who deserve to be gainfully employed are employed.
“The convict shall serve his term in Keffi Prison,” Halilu ordered.
James was arraigned on three count offences by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on March 26.
The offences are: Forgery of certificate contrary to section 25(1)(a) and punishable under section 25(1)(b) of the ICPC Act 2000 and being in possession of a forged document contrary to section 368 of the Penal code CAP 532, Laws of the FCT Nigeria 2006.
He was also charged with giving false information, an offence contrary and punishable under section 140 of the penal code CAP 53, Laws of the FCT Nigeria 2006.
The prosecution, Mr Agbili Ezenwa, in March, presented the forged certificate and the application letter to the Director of Admin and Human Resources in the auditor general’s office as evidence.
Ezenwa said that the convict wrote the application letter requesting to be converted and upgraded from the position of an Executive officer to that of a Senior Auditor.