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Court discharges jailed retiree over food debt

Court discharges jailed retiree over food debt

Fisayo Akinduro, Osogbo
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An Osogbo Magistrates’ Court on Friday,  discharged a 55-year-old man,  Moses Olatunde,  who had been in prison custody since October 2018 over an alleged accumulated  debt incurred from  buying food on credit.

The accused person, Olatunde was earlier  arraigned on October 9, 2018, and thereafter remanded in Ilesa  prison after police accused him of stealing.

The Hope Metro learnt that, Olatunde, retired  from the state Ministry of Education as an Administrative Officer  in 2017,  and still awaiting for his gratuities.

The police prosecutor, Inspector Jafani Muslim, then,  informed  the court that the accused person,  committed the  offence  between the  month of June 2017 and January 2018, at Ola -iya area of Osogbo metropolis.

 Muslim said  the accused person cheated one Mrs Kudirat Yusuf by buying cooked food worth N269,940:00 on credit and failed to  pay.

However,  when the case came up on Friday,  a counsel  with the state Ministry of Justice,  Mr Iyiola Olajubu, who read the legal advice on the case issued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), informed the court that the case brought by  the police was a simple contract matter.

He added that there was no established evidence of crime that could have warranted any other approach different from civil procedure.

He submitted,”Having gone through the case file,  it is evident that a simple contract has been formed by the parties. All the elements of a simple contract have been fulfilled and consequently,  the accused  has breached the term of the simple contract.

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“There are no evidence of any crime being perpetrated against the  complainant by the accused other than the breach of a simple contract which should result to a civil matter.

“I am of the opinion that this is premised on civil case and not criminal in nature. However,  steps should be made to ensure the accused person pays his debt. The accused person is however not liable for any criminal offence whatsoever.”

The Magistrate, Mr Taofeek Badmus, based on the position of the state counsel, struck out the case after getting assurance of payment  from the lawyer to the accused person,  Mrs Julie Olorunfemi,  who is the Osun state Coordinator of Legal Aid Council.

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