Police Pension Scam: Yusuf Challenges Right Of Court To Try Him
The re-trial of Mr John Yakubu Yusuf , a former deputy director in the Police Pension Office , who is standing trial for a four count charge of false declaration of assets, has been stalled following an application by the defendant, alleging double jeopardy and challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try him.
A Federal Capital Territory High court in Abuja had in January, sentenced Mr Yusuf to six years imprisonment or the option of N750, 000.00 fine for criminal conversion of N23.3 billion police pension fund for personal use.
At the resumed hearing for the prosecution witness on Monday, counsel to Mr Yusuf told the court that his application touches on the jurisdiction of the court and that it is a threshold issue in the suit which its determination and disposal will stir the ship of the court whether to proceed or discontinue trial.
With the new application, the court had to pause and determine the application before continuing with the case.
This position did not go down well with the prosecuting counsel; Mr Rotimi Jacob, who said that the application is an attempt to slow down the case.
He urged the court to refuse the application so that the witness can go on and conclude his testimony.
The trial judge; Justice Adamu Bello, however disagreed with the prosecution.
According to him, having looked at the application it touches on the jurisdiction of the court which is a fundamental issue that must be settled before trial can commence.
Justice Bello went on to give seven days to the prosecution to reply the motion and serve same.
The case has been adjourned to the 16th of May for all parties to adopt their briefs.
According to court documents, Mr Yusuf is charged for failing to declare in his asset form as a civil servant, his interest in SY-Global Services Limited, a company solely owned by him and members of his family.
The second charge accused him of not declaring the sum of N250million lodged in a fixed deposit in the name of the said company with a commercial bank.
He is also accused of failing to declare another N10million lodge in a separate commercial bank in the name of the said company.
According to the fourth charge, Mr Yusuf used a surrogate, one Mr Danjuma Gele to also fix the sum of N25million in a fixed deposit account.
Yusuf, who was last tried alongside a former Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of Service, Abubakar Kigo and four others, including Sani Habila Zira, Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, was charged with criminal breach of trust by public officers.
They are alleged to have stolen the sum of N3.8 billion pension funds; an offence contrary to Sections 37and 315 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Nigeria, 2007.
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