Ex-Senator Dragged To Court Over Foreign Varsities' Admission Scam
SAN FRANCISCO, March 25, (THEWILL) - An ex-Senator from Benue State, Professor David Iornem, has been dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for allegedly swindling unsuspecting Nigerian students to the tune of over N200 million under the guise of offering them admission in two universities in Belize.
Iornem was dragged before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on a 14-count charges bordering on extortion and money laundering.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), which filed the charges against Iornem, accused him of running two private foreign universities to allegedly dupe unsuspecting Nigerians through fraudulent admission offers.
The two private foreign illegal universities are Island Open University Incorporation and Commonwealth University Incorporation of Belize which were charged as second and third accused respectively.
Iornem is said to have conspired with one Bruce Robert Duncan and others at large and published advertisement in which he allegedly offered fraudulent admissions to Nigerians while acting as Consultant, and Academic Adviser to Commonwealth University Belize, said to be unaccredited or authorised to operate as a university in Belize.
Iornem is also said to have attempted to swindle the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin Professor Ishaq Oloyede of $11,550 in 2012 for the award of an academic doctorate degree by Commonwealth University of Belize.
He was also accused of fraudulently obtaining $5, 000 from one Akinkiotu Albert Oluwatoyin under the pretext of offering him a university admission to pursue a degree of Doctor of Philosophy and another $6,800 from Chief Victor Ekpo Effiom for the same purpose.
He is also accused of converting N34m proceeds of the illegal universities to acquire a building at Jikwoyi in Abuja in 2012 and also allegedly transferred $307, 000 derived from racketeering in the award of honorary degrees of Commonwealth University to acquire a two- bedroom flat at No 9, Oxford Close, London contrary to section 15 (i) (a) (ii) Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Justice Mohammed has however adjourned further hearing in the case till May.
The ex-Senator, who stood for the two universities, however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The ICPC prosecutor, Mr.
Ebenezer Shogunle, did not oppose the bail of the accused prompting the court to grant him bail in the sum N100, 000 and a surety in the like sum who must be civil servant not below grade level 8 and must swear to affidavit of means.