Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Less than 24 hours after an Abuja High Court sentenced Pension Thief John Yakubu Yusuf to two years in prison for admitting to stealing around N2 billion, an Ikare Magistrate Court in Ondo State has sentenced another man to three years in prison for stealing a telephone handset worth N17, 000. The Abuja court had on Monday sentenced the former director of the Police Pension Board, John Yakubu Yusuf, to two-year imprisonment. Mr. Yusuf pleaded guilty to two-count charges of embezzling about N2 billion of the total N33 billion stolen from police pensions. He was, however, given an option of fine of N250, 000 instead of going to jail. Adepoju Jamiu, 23, living in Ondo was not so lucky. On Tuesday, the Ikare Magistrate Court sentenced him to three years imprisonment for stealing a China Blackberry phone worth N17, 000. Like pension thief Yusuf, Mr. Jamiu also pleaded guilty to the charge. If the ratio of years of sentence was relative to the amount stolen and the same law was used to try both men, should Mr. Jamiu be jailed 3 years, Mr., Yusuf would have been sentenced to at least 110,000 years in jail. Not only was Mr. Jamiu given a seemingly incomparable jail sentence, he was not given an option of fine by Chief Magistrate Sunday Adeniyan. Mr. Jamiu’s crime The police prosecutor, Aigbojie Amileomen, told the court that the stolen phone belonged to one Suleiman Asimiyi. While briefing the court on the case, the prosecutor said the accused committed the offence in November 2012 at about 5.30 a.m. at Olukare Central Mosque, Inu Odi, Okela, Ikare. When the case was read, the accused pleaded guilty as charged. Mr. Adeniyan convicted Mr. Jamiu having found him guilty. He said Mr. Jamiu’s action violated Section 383(1) and punished him under Section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap 37, volume one, laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006. He therefore ordered that Mr. Jamiu should remain in prison for three years without an option of fine.

here were  indications on Tuesday that public outcry against the light sentence handed an Assistant Director in the Police Pension Office, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf, by  a  Federal Capital Territory High Court,  forced the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to rearrest him.
The high court presided over by Justice Mohammed Talba had on Monday  sentenced Yusuf  to only two years’ imprisonment with an option of N750,000 fine for conniving with others to defraud  the PPO and pensioners of N27.2bn.
Even before the  judge rose, many in the courtroom expressed amazement at the judgment. While many Nigerians took to social networks like the Facebook and Twitter mocking the judgment, prominent lawyers and civil rights activists condemned it as a setback to the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade.
On  Tuesday, one of the civil rights groups, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, demanded the probe of Talba for the light sentence.
Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress said the judgment was an indication that the judiciary could not be relied on to deliver the country from monumental corruption.
A source close to the EFCC told one of our correspondents that the commission,  apparently  embarrassed by the public outcry , moved swiftly to redeeem its image by sniffing more into Yusuf’s records in order to nail him.
The source said, “We never expected what happened yesterday(Monday). The reactions that followed the judgment  were  embarrassing to us and that was why we quickly had to look into his files again and sniffed out things that we had overlooked. With  those things, we had to rearrest him for fresh prosecution.”
 EFCC  spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren,  had  told The PUNCH in Abuja that Yusuf  was rearrested because he had a pending case. “He  will  face fresh charges. When you are arrested and you are being investigated, logically you will be rearraigned to face fresh charges, ” he added.
 He later issued a statement in which he  said  Yusuf  would be arraigned today (Wednesday) before Jutice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court in Abuja on four counts.
 Uwujaren said, “He will be arraigned over non-declaration of his assets and liability in his asset declaration form and his failure to declare his interest in a company known as SY-A Global Services Limited.
“The pension fraud convict is alleged to have used the company, SY-A Global Services Limited, to lodge N250m  with Zenith Bank.
“Yusuf’s re-arraignment  is coming on the heels of a questionable ruling by Justice Mohammed Talba of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, January 29, in which he was handed a two- year jail term with an option of N250,000 fine on each of the three counts against him.
“Yusuf is one of the six persons standing trial in the N32.8bn Police Pension scam.  The six accused persons in the police pension scam were first arraigned on March 29, 2012, on 16  criminal charges bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
“The other accused person  are  Esai Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Mrs. Veronica Onyegbula and Sani Zira. Kigo was the director of the PPO  before he was made a permanent secretary.”
 Count one and two of the charges to be preferred against Yusuf reads:
 “That you, John Yusuf on or about February 14, 2012 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division knowingly failed to make full disclosure of your assets and liability in the Declaration of Asset Form filled by you, by not declaring your interest in a company known as SY-A Global  Services Limited , a Nigerian company incorporated by you, and solely owned by yourself and members of your immediate family and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 27(3) of the EFCC  (Establishment, etc.) Act CAP E1 2004.
 “That you, John Yusuf, on or about February 14 , 2012 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division knowingly failed to make full disclosure of your assets and liability in the Declaration of Asset Form filled by you, by not declaring your interest in the N250m  you have  in a fixed deposit account with Zenith Bank in the name of SY-A Global  Services Limited, a company in which you are the sole signatory to its account and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 27(3) of  EFCC (Establishment ,etc.) Act CAP E1 2004.
  Furthermore, count three explained that the convict also, knowingly, failed to make full disclosure of the sum of N10m he lodged in a fixed deposit account with the First Bank of Nigeria Plc in the name of the same company.
Count four accused him of failing to make full disclosure of  N29m which was fixed on his instruction  by one Danjuma Mele  in the account  of Jidag Technical Services Ltd with Diamond Bank.
A list of witnesses attached to the charge sheet  showed   Mustapha Gandaya,  Mele, officials of Zenith Bank and officials of Diamond Bank   as witnesses to be called against the accused person in the course of  his fresh  trial.
Exhibits to be presented in court for the trial, according to the charge sheet, include statement of the accused person, statements of witnesses, and other relevant documents and exhibits.
The charge sheet in the new suit was numbered FHC/ABJ/CR/14/2013 and  dated January 29, 2013. It was signed by Chile Okoroma,  the Acting Director, Legal and Prosecution Department, EFCC, on behalf of the Chairman of the commission and the Attorney- General of the Federation.
EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and many   others in the FCT  High Court  where  Yusuf  was convicted  on Monday,  had openly expressed their amazement with  the lightsentence handed him.
Also,  the  EFCC had, in a statement shortly after the  court rose , condemned the sentence,  saying it would study it  and  “respond appropriately.”
 The statement read in  part, “The  EFCC has expressed reservations about the ruling of an FCT High Court, Abuja which handed a six year jail term with the option of N750, 000 fine to  Yusufu, one of the six persons standing trial in the N32.8bn Police Pension scam.
“The commission is of the view that the option of fine runs contrary to the understanding between the prosecution and the defence wherein the convict consented to a custodial sentence with the forfeiture of all assets and money that are proceeds of the crime.”

-culled from

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