From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has convicted and sentenced a property manager to four years imprisonment for diverting the sum of N132.5 million in rent.

Justice J. Enobie Obanor in his judgment said the court found Ifeanyi Israel and UI Properties Ltd guilty of a one-count of criminal breach of trust in the management of the properties.

The judge, however, granted the defendants the option of a N100,000 fine each and to refund the N132.5 million rent.

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“Thus, where all the essential ingredients of the offences charged, have been proved or established by the Prosecution, and there is no valid defence or rebuttal from the defence, the charge is proved beyond reasonable doubt. And I so hold,” the judge said.

“The sole issue is resolved in favour of the Prosecution against the Defendants. The Defendants are therefore found guilty of the one count charge of Criminal Breach of Trust contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation (Abuja), 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same law.”

The case was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2021 after the defendants failed to remit rents from properties located in Wuse Zone 6, Utako, Maitama, and Garki in Abuja and Lekki Phase in Lagos.

In his defence, Israel had pleaded that he used part of the money for renovation work, which the court found was without the consent of the owner.

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