A Legal practitioner, Toyese Adenipekun on Thursday described the court ruling on the Police Pension theft case as unsubstantial.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Adenipekun confessed his surprise at the court’s decision, an echo of the general reaction to Justice Adamu Bello’s judgment.
“Given the facts of the case and how much involved, N32 billion you would have expected that the fine would be substantial enough to bring about the deterrence value of the criminal justice system,” he said.
In the light of the argument that Justice Bello’s ruling is what the law dictates, Mr Adenipekun agreed that plea bargaining can take place stating that “the whole essence is to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice.”
Asked if he suspects any conspiracy in the case, he said that it is hard to prove that there is any conspiracy involved in the controversial case but confirms public suspicions that “something wrong took place somewhere.”
“I wonder what the prosecution had to tell the court before the court was convinced to allow the initial charges to be reduced,” he said.
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Lawal Gumi has granted an interim order to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to attach and take possession of the asset of all the six accused persons who allegedly defrauded the Police Pension Office to the tune of N32.8 billion naira.
The Judge further ordered the freezing of the bank accounts of all the accused persons pending the hearing and final determination of the corruption case against them.
The six suspects who were arraigned on March 29, 2012, on a 16 criminal charges bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust before Justice Mohammed Talba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, were Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira.
Mr Kigo was the director of the Police Pension Office, before he was made permanent secretary.
Fifteen of the 45 properties which were ordered forfeited on interim basis, belongs to Mr Dangabar, 11 to Mrs Onyegbula, six to Mr Wada, five belongs to Mr Kigo and four each to Misters Yusuf and Zira.
According to the order, “all the bank accounts currently being operated and maintained by Inuwa Wada at Keystone and Zenith Bank, all totalling 11 in number are hereby temporarily frozen until the determination of the charge Number FCT/Cr/64/2012.
Similarly, all the bank accounts presently being operated and maintained by Esai Dangabar, Atiku A. Kigo and Veronica Onyegbula in the following banks: EcoBank, FCMB, Access Bank, Sky Bank, Fortis Micro Finance Bank, Aso Savings, GTB, Mainstreet Bank and Wema Bank are hereby temporarily frozen pending the hearing and determination of all the said criminal charge No. FCT/64/2012 presently pending before this court”, the Judge ruled.
The 15 properties belonging to Mr Esai are: Block of 3 Bedrooms flats at Gwarinpa (6 units), along EFAB Estate, Life camp; a Block of 3 Bedrooms flats (6 units) at Mabushi District, beside Ministry of Works; Estate of 4 Bedroom Duplexes (16 units) Behind Wuye Modern Market, Abuja; a mini estate at No.19, Ukpabi Asika Street, Asokoro, Abuja; 12 Units of 2 bedroom flats at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 5 Bedroom Duplexes at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 4 Bedroom Bungalows at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 2 Bedroom flat at Zone C, Apo Resettlement, layout.
Others are: 5 Blocks of One bedroom flats at Zone C, Apo Resettlement layout, Abuja; Twin duplex of 5 bedroom & 3 rooms, 33, ML Wushishi BQ 1 Crescent, Utako, Abuja; 2 Blocks of 3 Bedroom flats, Area 3, Former NYSC Office, Abuja; 2 Bedroom , Area 2, Abuja, Behind Shopping , Complex , 3 Bedroom flats , 2 Goran village, along Adi Farms Ltd, Abuja-Keffi road, 180,000 Liters Storage Facility on a Land of about 5,000sqm, with Office Building, Workshop and 20 Loading Bay 1 Suleja, Niger State.
The 11 properties belonging to Mrs Onyegbula are: 4 Bedroom Duplex at No.3, Andorra Street, Sun City, Galadimawa, Abuja; Building Housing Ulover International Resources Ltd, Kechis Bottling Company, Plot 140 – 142 Ehinmiri Housing Estate, Umuahia, Abia State; Building (6 Bedroom Duplex), Housing Somadok, 14, Ola Adeshile Street, Ajao Estate, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos; Large Plot of Land for International Primary & Secondary School, Ehinmiri Housing Estate, Phase 2, Umuahia, Abia State; A Mansion with a BQ at Umugbalu Village, Oboro, Ikwuano LGA, Abia State. Others are Two Storey Building with shops and flats at No.l03, Ozuitem, Street, Enugu Road Amuziukwu, Umuahia, Abia State; 1, two storey building with shops and flats at No. l04, Ozuitem Street, Enugu Road Amuziukwu, Umuahia, Abia State; two storey building of Six flats at Ukaegbu Street, Aba, Abia State; Student Hostels at Michael Okpara University of Agric, Umudike, Oboro, Ikwuano LGA, Abia State; 3 Bedroom Duplex at No.1, Tola Adewumi Street, Off. Folarin Hospital, Maryland; 3 bedrooms Duplex at No.2, Tola Adewumi Street, Off Folarin Hospital, Maryland.
The six properties belonging to Mr Wada are: 4 Bedroom Duplex at Block B4, Finance Quarters, Wuye Abuja; A House at Gwale, Kano; a house at Filling Mushe, Gwale LG, Kano; A Duplex at Saudauna Crescent, Nassarawa Kano; a Duplex at Dorayi Karshen Waya, Behind Old BUK, Kano; A House at Unguwa Uku, Kano.
The five properties belonging to Mr Kigo are a 3 bedroom bungalow at 18 Uruguay Street, Panasonic Estate, Wuse 2; a 4 bedroom duplex at Gudu new layout, Abuja; a 4 bedroom duplex at 35, Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja; a 4 bedroom duplex at FHA, Gwarinpa new Extension beside COCIN church and an International Secondary and Primary School (under construction) at Kuje Abuja.
The four properties belonging to Mr Zira are; Concept College London, Gwarinpa, Close to Eco Bank, Abuja; Block of flats at FCDA Quarters, Phase II, Block J, Flat 1 & 2 Garki, Abuja ; Hotel (aka Habila Hasike’s Hotel) Beside Yasekule Primary School, On the same Street with Michika LG Secretariat, Adamawa State; A House at No.36, Malamre Wark, Jimeta, Yola, Adamawa State. While Yusuf’s properties in Gombe and Abuja are: Hotel (Under Construction, finishing level) behind Gombe State investment Property Company Housing Estate, Gombe State; three Bedroom Semi Detached Bungalow at UU1, A&B, Sunny Homes, Dakwo District, Abuja; three Bedroom Semi Detached Bungalow at U20, A&B, Sunny Homes, Dakwo District, Abuja.
The Federal Civil Service Commission on Wednesday approved that the five serving federal civil servants recently charged to court in connection with fraud at the police pension office be suspended.
The officers are Atiku Abubakar Tigo (Permanent Secretary), Ahmed Inuwa Wada (Director), John Yakubu Yusuf (Assistant Director), Veronica Onyegbula (Cashier), and Sani Habila Zira (ICT officer).
This was announced in a statement released by the office of the head of the federation and signed by the deputy director press and public relations, Tope Ajakaiye.
The suspension is to take effect from the 29th of March 2012.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the officers before the an Abuja High Court on March 29 on a 16 count of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and diversion of public funds.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC (EFCC) have reacted to media reports in sections that the Senate had directed the Nigeria Police to probe its former Chairman, Farida Waziri and the incumbent, Ibrahim Lamorde for perceived wrongdoing in the Pension probe.
A section of the media had also reported that the Commission has been directed by the Senate to stop further investigation of pension matters.
“The Commission wishes to state that, at no time did the Senate committee or the Senate as a whole order the police to probe the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde and his predecessor, Mrs Farida Waziri. Neither did it request the EFCC to hands off pension matters. Reports to the contrary, may have been promoted by interests to achieve certain nefarious ends,” the statement reads.
The EFCC spokesperson said that Mrs Waziri and Mr Lamorde had appeared at the public hearing on the pension fund probe in response to invitations by the committee.
“For Lamorde, it was his second time. When he first appeared before the Committee some weeks back he was confronted with a document that alleged that he collected estacode to travel to the US for a biometric capturing exercise by the Pension Task Team, a claim which he vehemently denied. The EFCC Chairman stated that he had never travelled abroad on any biometric capturing assignment neither did he receive any estacode from anybody for that purpose.
“Even the head of the Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was present on the occasion, confirmed that Lamorde did not travel and did not collect a kobo in estacode. The EFCC Chairman said he was sure that the documents and claims regarding his person were forged.”
The Senate Committee investigating pension administration in the country has uncovered an illegal account lodged with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) with the sum of N3 billion belonging to the Police pension fund.
At the resumed public hearing of the committee in its third week, the chairman of the committee, Senator Aloysius Etuk said the account was opened without the authorization of the accountant general of the federation.
However, the executive director north, UBA, Dan Okeke stated that the bank had a ‘letter of approval from the accountant-general to open the account. He also assured the committee that if allowed, he could go bring the letter.
Done with questioning the executive director of UBA, the committee then summoned seven bank chiefs and the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) to explain the series of controversial accounts on the pension fund.
The managing directors of the seven banks summoned includes, First bank PLC, Union bank PLC and Diamond bank PLC. The others are Fidelity bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC and Skye bank to explain the series of controversial accounts on the pension fund.
Committee members then shifted attention to the pension reform task team which it accused of being wasteful. The committee also demanded to know the whereabouts of the funds which the pension reform task team claimed to have recovered.
Former director in charge of pension in the office of the Head of Service of the federation, Dr. Shaibu Sani Teidi narrated how he sneaked into the national assembly to avoid being arrested by the EFCC who according to him have been hunting for the documents he intended to submit to the panel.
Chairman of the committee Senator Aloysius Etuk asked the EFCC not to prevent any principal witness from attending the hearing to give evidence on the irregularities in pension administration.
The Pension Fund reforms is presently going on as the joint Senate committee on the recent pensions probe which held at Abuja last week.
The Probe panel summoned the chairman of the pension scheme taskforce to come and answer questions relating to issues that remained unclear to Nigerians and the probe panel as lots of illegal transactions were revealed.