A Federal high Court in sitting in Yola has on Thursday convicted and sentenced former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Yola branch, Esthon Runde Binani and a Magistrate Shehu Mustapha five years each for fraudulent conversion of funds.
The court was presided over the by Justice Bilkisu Bello Aliyu [now Justice, Court of appeal], but continued as part-heard matter.
Some retired staff of Sterling Construction Company had engaged the services of Mr. Binani to prosecute a matter against their erstwhile employer. Binani secured favourable judgement in 2007 on behalf of the laid off employees, whereupon some equipment of the company were sold and the money remitted to the Court as judgment sum.
However, Shehu who was then a litigation Secretary at Adamawa State High Court before he was appointed a Magistrate, kept the funds with an understanding that their counsel, Binani, will ensure release to the beneficiaries.
The aggrieved litigants petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Shehu and Binani were found guilty of conspiracy, and fraudulent diversion of funds. In addition to their sentences, the convicts are to refund the sums of Sixty-One million Naira and Five million Naira respectively.
Mr. Binani was the Chairman NBA Yola between 2008-2010.