Principal Crown Counsel Cecil H.E. Miller secures conviction in fraud case against Lagos lawyer

A Lagos lawyer, was yesterday- at the Lagos Assizes sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing the sum of £3,000 belonging to Fourah-Bay College, Sierra-Leone. Sagoe was said to have stolen the money out of £10,000 he received on behalf of the Fourah-Bay College, now University College of Sierra-Leone, from the Federal Public Trustee sometime in June 1960. The money was a bequest from the WILL of Late W. Harding of Lagos to the college. In his one-hour judgment, Mr Justice Lambo said during the transaction between the accused and the college, he (Sagoe) acted in the dual capacity of "Attorney and Solicitor" and that he received £10,000 from the Federal Public Trustee for the benefit of the college. The Judge observed that out of the money he received on behalf of the college, Sagoe only sent ,.000 to the college adding that, the accused fraudulently converted.

SUBSTANTIAL Justice Lambo said that Sagoe was not being truthful when he said that he had a substantial money In his chambers because when the first installment of £7.000 was paid to him, his bank account was going down steadily, He then argued that if It was true that Sagoe had 'sufficient cash in his chambers, he could not have subjected himself to the Inconvenience of issuing cheques to get money from the bank. The,Judge held that Sagoe never intended to pay over the whole money he received to the college but instead "he recklessly embarked on a spending spree."

Mr Frank Akinrele, defence counsel, pleaded for option of fine. But Mr Cecil Miller, principal crown counsel, told the court that the act of the accused had disgraced Nigeria in the eyes of the world. Justice Lambo remarked: "The accused is found guilty on a most serious professional misconduct. The offence is a very serious one and I will be failing in my duty If I should fall to give the accused a punishment that will serve as a deterrent to others."


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