The police have arrested two teachers at a private primary school in Lekki, Lagos State, Divina Oluwadere and Elizabeth Tijani, for allegedly diverting the school’s cooperative funds and fees paid by pupils for their own use.
An official of the school, Ijaola Adesola, was also apprehended for the alleged crime.
Apart from being teachers, it was learnt that Oluwadare and Tijani performed administrative roles in the school which gave them access to its funds.
Oluwadare reportedly diverted the sum of N182,000 while Tijani and Adesola allegedly took N583,000 and N492,000 respectively.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the suspects were sacked following the discovery of the crime and handed over to the police
It was gathered that the suspects wrote undertakings to return the money, but reneged on their promise in the course of the repayment.
Oluwadare, a native of the Abi Local Government Area, Cross River State, told the police that a sum of N257,000 was traced to her, but she had paid back N95,000.
She said, “I worked with Jolabell International School. During my service there, the sum of N257,000 was found missing after thorough auditing. The police were involved and I have remitted the sum of N95,000. I would have finished the payment but for the injury I sustained in the leg.”
Tijani stated that she was going to deposit the money sometime in October 2017 after closing from work when she was robbed in the Iyana Ipaja area of the state. The indigene of Lagos Island said she did not report the incident to the police on time as a result of shock.
“I had been teaching for years, but I am not working now due to my health condition. Sometime last year, I was on my way to my boss’ office where I was supposed to deposit the weekly funds made by the school when I was robbed around Iyana Ipaja.
“The only person I could remember at that moment was my husband and I called him. After some days, I called my boss and told him what happened, but he said he wanted his money. I stopped going to work. I have paid a little out of the money.”
Adesola said she took N450,000, not M492,000, from the school’s coffers and that she had returned N250,000 from the sum. “I just got another job and I have promised to pay the balance soon,” she added.
The suspects were brought before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court on three counts of stealing by a police prosecutor, Inspector Ben Emuerhi.
Emuerhi told the court that the offence contravened sections 280(2)of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read in part, “That you, Divina Oluwadare, sometime in April 2017 at Jolabell International School, Lekki, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial Distirct, did steal the sum of N182,000, proceeds realised from the school fees.
“That you, Elizabeth Tijani, sometime in November 2017, did steal the sum of N583,000, proceeds realised from school fees, property of Jolabell International School and Empowerment Cooperative and Multipurpose Society.”
“That you, Ijaola Adesola, sometime in 2017 did steal the sum of N492,000 proceeds realised from school fees, property of Jolabell International School and Empowerment Cooperative and Multipurpose Society.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the counts and elected summary trial.
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The presiding magistrate, Mrs. O. Sule-Amzat, granted them bail in the sum of N200,000 each with two sureties each in the like sum.
The case was adjourned till November 12, 2018 for mention.
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