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Court sentence Travel agent for stealing N10m airline tickets

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sentenced a travel agent, Babawale Ponle, to two years’ imprisonment for misappropriating N10m worth of airline tickets.

Ponle, who is the Managing Director of Travel Doctor Limited, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on four counts bordering on stealing and issuance of dud cheques.

It was gathered that Ponle was given the tickets on credit by a travel company, Sound Travel Services Limited.

The prosecutor, Samuel Daji, said Ponle committed the offence between March and December 2012.

According to the EFCC, Ponle issued two dud cheques to Sound Travel Services Limited in the sum of N3m and N7m.

The offences contravened Section 285(7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015 and Section 1 of the Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act.

However, during his defence, Ponle told the court that he sold the tickets on credit.

Delivering her judgement, Justice Taiwo, who noted that the prosecution proved that the N10m was diverted for personal use, found Ponle guilty of the charges.

She said, “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, failed to pay anything to the complainant. The court is satisfied that he used out of the N10m for his personal use.

“In the light of this fact, I hereby sentenced 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, however, noted that the court would not order restitution because the complainant had already been awarded restitution via a civil suit.

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