An Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos State, on Thursday, sentenced a travel agent to a jail term of two years for misappropriating flight tickets for airlines worth N10 million.
Babawale Ponle, Managing Director of Travel Doctor Limited, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a four-count of stealing and issuing bounced cheques.
EFCC prosecutor, Samuel Daji, said Ponle misappropriated the tickets given to him on credit by a travel company, Sound Travel Services Limited, between March and December, 2012.
He was also accused of issuing two dud cheques to the company in the sum of N3 million and N7 million respectively, an act the prosecutor alleged, contravened Section 285(7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015 and Section 1 of the Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act.
The Ponle had, however, claimed in his defence during the trial that the tickets were sold by him to IRS Airlines on credit.
Delivering judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, found him guilty on one count of stealing and two-counts of issuing dishonoured cheques, noting that the prosecution had successfully proved that part of the N10 million was diverted by the defendant for his own use.
“This court is mindful of the fact that this case emanated from a business arrangement between the defendant and the complainant. However, the defendant since 2013 has failed to pay anything to the complainant. The court is satisfied that he used out of the N10 million for his personal use.
“In light of this fact, I hereby sentence the defendant to two years imprisonment or a fine of N250, 000. On the two-counts of issuance of dud cheques, I hereby sentence the defendant to one year in prison or a fine of N200, 000”.
The judge said restitution would not be ordered in the case because the complainant had already been awarded restitution via a civil suit. She noted that Justice Oyekan Abudullahi of a Lagos High Court had in a judgement ordered N10 million to be paid by Ponle as restitution to the complainant over the same issue.
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