A promoter and proprietor of a closed illegal degree mill, one Mr. Martins Olurantise was convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Federal High Court, Akure on the 19th June 2017. He was convicted for using an illegal cross border outfit, Open International University Collombo Sri-Lanka, Akure to defraud many unsuspecting Nigerians by obtaining various sums as school fees/charges under the false pretense that the University was registered with the National Universities Commission, contrary to Section 1 (1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No.14 of 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act. The trial ran under charge FHC/AK/7C/2009.
The Prosecution which commenced in 2009 was anchored by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This matter was taken up by EFCC when NUC petitioned EFCC on the illegal and corrupt practices of Mr. Martins Olurantise. The prosecution team was led by the EFCC’s prosecution counsel, TN Ndifon, Esq. Prosecution witnesses in the eight year trial included NUC’s Head of Legal Division, Moses O. Awe Esq., students of the closed illegal degree mills, a couple of EFCC’s investigating officers and a representative of Ondo State Ministry of Health.
It would be recalled that in 2008, National Universities Commission received a petition from the Ondo State Ministry of Health on the illegal activity of Mr. Martins Olurantise, using his illegal outfit, International Open University Colombo, Sri-Lanka, Akure to admit students into various degree programmes in Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing, and was using unapproved private clinics as teaching hospitals. NUC petitioned EFCC which subsequently closed down the mill, arrested the proprietor, and commenced prosecution shortly thereafter.
In his 47-page judgment, the trial judge, His Lordship, Hon. Justice I.M. Sani extensively reviewed the evidence before him and came to the conclusion that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. He sentenced the accused/defendant Mr. Martins Olurantise, to two years imprisonment on each of the five count charges for which he was convicted, making a combined sentence of ten years imprisonment. However, all the sentences would run concurrently, meaning he will spend only two years behind bars.