Thursday, May 26, 2011
LAND SALE SCAM: JUDGE SENDS SCHOOL MATE TO 100 YEARS IMPRISONMENT
10th February 2011, was judgement day in charge no: ID/102c/2007 between FRN vs Kole Bello and Or. The first defendant a lawyer is not a stranger to the honourable trial judge. In fact both men had attended the famous University of Ife, Ile-Ife for their law studies in the early 80s. While Oyewole J, the learned trial judge graduated from “Great Ife” in 1985 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986, the 1st defendant, Barrister Kole Bello, graduated in 1984 and was called to the Bar in 1985.
After their calls to the Bar, both men came to the city of Lagos to practice their profession. In 2001 Oyewole was appointed a high court judge in the state and before too long established a reputation as a tough customer to face in the criminal division of the state high court, for his remarkable industry and grounding in the criminal law and procedure topped with a dry-eyed approach to sentencing upon conviction.
Kole Bello was not doing badly as a legal practitioner too, and known as a gentle and amiable person. His lead counsel in his case before the Oyewole court was another “Great Ife” product, Mr. Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun, former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch.
However when the dust of the case settled (upon the delivery of the judgement) only two of the three “Great Ife” products aforementioned went home at the end of the day. They were Justice Oyewole and Mr. Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun. The third, Barrister Kole Bello was taken to a large government house, known as Security Prison Kirikiri, Lagos, having been convicted on all the ten-count charge against him and sentenced to a total of one hundred years only.
Mr. Bello’s lawyer, however is not convinced about the guilt of his client. In a brief telephone chat with the Squib, Ademuwagun, a doctor of divinity, but more popularly referred to by younger colleagues as “doctor of divination” said that Bello has no hand in the perpetration of the fraud that he was convicted upon. According to Ademuwagun, Bello was sure to go on appeal against Justice Oyewole’s verdict. “You know his career (as a lawyer) is at stake,” he explained further.