Former Yeovil Town defender Efe Sodje was jailed back in 2017 for his part in a Charity Fraud. The 46 year old was found guilty at a trial that took place at the Old Bailey relating to money obtained whilst fundraising for the Sodje Sports Foundation, which was set up in 2009, to provide facilities in Nigeria. Sodje was found guilty alongside his brothers Stephen Sodje and Bright Sodje who were also jailed for their part in the scam.
The official position back in September 2017 was that the criminal trial had collapsed. However, reporting restrictions had been put in place that suppressed the outcome of the trial involving Efe, Stephen and Bright, due to a retrial being started for Sam Sodje. That case was heard earlier this month, and it was noticeable that Sam was the only person in the dock, but without any explicit indication of what had happened to the other accused men.
With Sam Sodje's trial having completed - he was found not guilty of money laundering - the reporting restrictions on the other three have now been lifted. The prosecution centred around a £150-a-head black tie dinner that raised almost £11,500 in aid of the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, but ultimately the hospital did not receive any income from that event.
On conclusion of the trial, Efe Sodje, who is reported as being the 'face' of the Charity, was jailed for 18 months for receiving £7,500 from the Charity and an unknown amount associated with a clay pigeon shooting event. Stephen Sodje was jailed for two-and-a-half years for receiving £30,000. Bright Sodje received a 21 month term for receiving £3,000 and for signing cheques totalling £18,000 that reached other family members. Two other men - Emmanuel Ehikhamen and Andrew Oruma - were also convicted.
Sam Sodje's retrial began on January 7th 2019, but he was found not guilty of two charges a week later, and then found not guilty of two more charges on January 21st 2019 (today). With the case involving Akpo Sodje unable to proceed due to his refusal to return from his current residence in Dubai for questioning, all legal proceedings have concluded for now, and the conviction of the five men has now been made public.
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