July 20, 2024

Nigeria Ex-Accountant General Who Refunded N6.3Bn to FG’s Coffers Dies in UK

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Late Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla

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By Reporter

A former Accountant General of Nigeria, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, who refunded N6.3 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government has reportedly died in the United Kingdom.

Midwest Herald reports that the former Accountant of the Federation died shortly after celebrating his birthday.

The deceased refunded the amount to the coffers of the Federal Government to avoid being prosecuted for looting the nation’s treasury by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It was reported that, until his death Otunla was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in relation to the alleged diversion of about N24 billion meant for disengaged staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and N2 billion allegedly received from the office of the national security adviser (ONSA).

Last June, an appeal court in Abuja had dismissed the judgment of a high court preventing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting the late Otunla, in a N24 billion fraud case.

The anti-graft agency told the court, that Otunla failed to provide evidence of the non-prosecution agreement between him and the agency after he refunded N6.4 billion of the looted funds.

In the ruling marked CA/A/657/2021, Justice Danlemi Senchi stated that there was no written commitment except Otunla’s words and that of his lawyer.

“Otunla could not halt his prosecution by merely claiming that there was an agreement, which existence he failed to establish with any credible evidence,” the EFCC stated.

“In the instant case, there is no evidence to support the pleading of the respondent (Otunla) that he will not be prosecuted; that criminal or civil proceedings should not be instituted or initiated against him.

“There is no plea bargain or any documentary evidence relating to the President Panel for the Recovery of Funds. On the whole, the appeal is meritorious and it is allowed.” The court said and gave EFCC the go-ahead to charge the former Accountant General for fraud.

He was on June 28, 2011, appointed by former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as the Accountant General of the Federation.

He served as board member of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

On June 1989, he was appointed Accountant General of Oyo State, a position he held until March 2004 when he got a transfer to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

He retired on June 12, 2015, honourably from the Civil Service after attaining the mandatory age of 60 years.

Otunla was born on June 12, 1955, in Oyo State, southwestern Nigeria. He had his secondary education at Baptist High School, Saki where he obtained the West African School Certificate in 1972 before he proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Financial accounting.

He became a chartered accountant in 1986 but received the fellowship of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in 1998.

He began his career on August 1980 with Unilever as accountant. He left the organization in 1989, to join the Oyo State civil service as Chief Internal Auditor, the same year he became the Director of Finance.

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