Anthony Elujoba, a former acting vice chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) was accused of fraud three years ago. However, he regained his freedom when the Osun State High Court in Oshogbo discharged and acquitted him on Thursday.
He was discharged and acquitted alongside the OAU’s ex-acting bursar, Josephine Akeredolu. The judge, Wasiu Akanbi, said the prosecution’s case lacks merit.
Mr Elujoba and Ms Akeredolu were arraigned in July 2017 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The petition against them included fraud, conversion of public funds, conspiracy and abuse of office.
The officials were said to have illegally awarded N5,477,595 as furniture allowance to themselves.
EFCC also accused Mr Elujoba’s one year administration of illegal diversion. According to the crime body, Elujoba diverted N1.4 billion paid to workers in the university as earned allowances and productivity bonus.
Mr Akanbi gave his judgement in favour of the former OAU staff. Mr Akanbi said the prosecution did not prove any of the seven-count charges against the defendants.
Furthermore, he said the prosecution team led by M.S. Usman called three witnesses but tendered exhibits with contradictory evidence before the court.
The judge also said Mr Elujoba’s appointment letter stated that he would be entitled to fringe benefits. Although, he was to serve for six months. The judge also noted that the OAU Governing Board and the Federal Ministry of Education did not report that any money was missing.
Mr Akanbi said the claim by the prosecution witnesses that the acting vice chancellor was entitled to N722, 797.26 since he did not serve for four years could not be proved. He, therefore, discharged and acquitted the two of them.
Mr Elujoba served as the acting vice-chancellor of OAU between 2016 and 2017 following incessant protests over the appointment of Ayobami Salami as the substantive VC of the institution.
After a month of unrest, the federal government dissolved the institution’s governing council. Moresoy, it appointed Mr Elujoba as acting VC for six months. He served for one year following a renewal of his appointment.
In addition, he was the favourite of staff and students of the university for a permanent appointment. But the current VC, Eyitope Ogunbodede, got the appointment instead.