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N27.2 Billion Police Pension Thief Freed on N750,000 Fine

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An Abuja court on Monday 28th January 2013, handed a two year jail term with an option of N750,000 fine to one of six federal officials tried for stealing N27.2 billion of police pension fund.

John Yusuf, a former assistant director in the Federal Civil Service, was tried on a 20-count charge alongside Atiku Abubakar Kigo (Permanent Secretary), Ahmed Inuwa Wada (Director), Veronica Onyegbula (Cashier) and Sani Habila Zira (ICT Officer). He pleaded guilty to fraudulently converting N2 billion of police pension funds to private use and was handed down only a two-year jail sentence. The trial continues for the other accused persons.

Punch reports that each of the three offences attracts a two-year jail  term which run cuncurrently. However, he would not be serving his jail time as Judge Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court offered him an option of a fine of N250,000 for each of the three counts, amounting to N750,000. He would also forfeit 32 houses in the FCT  and Gombe as well as  N325m which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said were proceeds from the crime.

At the court, Yusuf’s Lawyer, Maiyaki Bala  pleaded for leniency after Yusuf pleaded guilty.

By pleading guilty, the convict has shown respect to this court and has saved  the precious time of the court. The court will also find  out that he is a first time offender without any previous record of conviction; furthermore, he is the head of a family of four, a wife and three children, two of who are university students while one is a primary school pupil. These people depend on him for their survival and wellbeing, including the payment of school fees,” Punch quoted him as saying.

The judge’s ruling has angered activists and numerous Nigerians who have closely followed the trial. The activists say it is a handshake ruling to let him go with a minimal jail term or the option of just N250,000 despite the magnitude of the crime.

According to Punch, the EFCC later released a statement on Monday condemning the judgement adding that it would respond appropriately.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

24 Comments

  1. R

    January 29, 2013 at 5:59 am

    O re mi. That fine is insulting.

  2. As myself

    January 29, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Lol! Naija judiciary I hail thee,first time offender my ass.

  3. Lentini

    January 29, 2013 at 6:32 am

    And the comedy continues……..seriously! After he and his crew have starved many families and stole what rightly belonged to people that have served their country. All he pays back to the govt is 750k. God bless Nigeria sha.

  4. walter

    January 29, 2013 at 6:34 am

    How can this primitive morons have acces to larges ammount of money with out supervisions?
    that is where all the north emisfere funding land to?
    mistake over mistake to funding this black states with excuses of helping poor people.. the money land to the pocket of dictators and money ben use for military purposes…

  5. nelly

    January 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Its really terrible, and the reason for the pardon is just absurd, what about the thousands that died just because he embazzeled their money? and wtf with that first time convict thing? you mean first time being caught? i know he must have been caught couples of times but what can his subordinates say, he is the f**king boss

  6. chuchusweets

    January 29, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Stealing N27.2 Billion is not the type of crime you tag ” first time offender” this person is as bad as a murderer and yet this country’s judiciary wont show itself relevant by making an example out of someone. If they can all pay 750k as fine, what difference does it make, what is the moral of this story. Abeg bella post wedding jo make we enjoy better news.

  7. oma

    January 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

    This a country is a mess, how can a judge actually pass such judgement, its just sad how the FG takes us for granted, we are not fools.

  8. mulikatcardoso

    January 29, 2013 at 9:01 am

    later they will say poorvertiy that bring Boko Harm,when all their leders both christian and muslim northerner blow out peoples money,can u belive this pension money, work all ur life ,old no pension. cos few devil soul minded Nigeria blow their money,just for them and their family to live big and travell overseas,e.g,1 person blow 23b and get only 2yrs jail and poor man theift 10,000 naira get 1oyrs jail,i know now reason why corruption can never finish in Nigeria,they all go away with,first time even 1 person after theift 23b ,get only 2yr jail after give court money he will free,but not show is face in public till 2yrs terms is finish, tell me who is ooling who.we need revolusion like the ones arab do in all northern africa and part of arab in middel east country ,not boko harm way, we go out in millions all the 36 state to bring change to our life and future,b4 is to late for us, they will blow all our future dry,and run to overseas with their family.

    • Bleed blue

      January 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Wow mulikat…seriously…make an effort with your spelling…seriously

    • Nonimous

      January 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      I think you should be fined for this. This is beyond being pardoned!!!

  9. poshilla!

    January 29, 2013 at 9:32 am

    imagine!! i comment ma reserve!

  10. pynk

    January 29, 2013 at 9:42 am

    this is just so painful. My mother is still waiting on her pension from Defense. They need to jail these “mickey fickies” for life. pensioners are dying everyday, bastards like these are walking free. Lets do better.

  11. ij

    January 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

    eyaa he is a first time offender without any previous record of conviction; furthermore, he is the head of a family of four, a wife and three children, two are university students while one is a primary school pupil. These people depend on him for their survival and well being, including the payment of school fees,
    they should have mentioned this vital info earlier , so he wont go through this stress ,he is a father and he has school fees to pay , unlike those people whose pensions he stole who have absolutely no use for the money.
    Onyeala of the highest order.Thief!!!!

  12. lazarus Adiele

    January 29, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Re;27.2 Billion Police Pension Thief verdict. To me it is an indirect way of encouraging Nigerians to keep looting. After all, what is 2yrs or 750,000 naira to this scam?

  13. Miboy

    January 29, 2013 at 10:24 am

    This is a blinding slap in the face of all law abiding Nigerians and nothing short of a travesty. I say this is no justice! What message is this joke of judge sending out to public officials that have not been caught yet and those planning to misappropriate public funds??? There should be no mercy for white collar thieves as they are responsible for a lot of people that end up as criminals such as armed robbers and scammers. I think they should be shot openly to serve as a deterrent to others.

  14. John

    January 29, 2013 at 11:20 am

    After 52 years of experimenting with self rule, isn’t it obvious that our people do not know what they are doing? What we have today are weak institutions that are mere rubber stamps. Our country is plagued by all types of misery imaginable. Perhaps the white man left hastily without providing us adequate training to govern ourselves. When you look at the yearly index of countries that are failing, most are in Africa. Tell me which country in Africa that is doing well except for South Africa?

    Isn’t it time we asked the white man to come back and help us fix our mess? We are not talking about re-colonization here. I’m talking about a system that is run like some of the countries in the Caribbean which are part of the British Overseas territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, etc). You never hear bad news about these countries except for the occasional weather related news. I actually think we could work out a bilateral agreement between our nations whereby they come in on a contractual basis that is renewable. I’d rather see us pay them with proceeds from our oil wealth which is currently being siphoned by our leaders and crime syndicates. Foreign CEOs and coaches get hired by international companies and national football teams to turn around ailing companies and win games. This is something we have some experience with. And many times, these hired guns deliver on their promise. Why can’t we apply the same sensible approach to our nation? Pride won’t let us, plus the criminals pillaging the country don’t see any benefit to them.

    Nigerians are too divisive along ethnic and religious lines to mount an effective campaign to bring about the needed change we all want. I don’t doubt that there are good Nigerians who are qualified and capable to run our country but they’ll never get the opportunity. Why don’t we have someone who is not part of this mosaic called Nigeria help us realize our dreams.

    We are currently experiencing problems with terrorism in both Mali and Nigeria. The white man is in Mali to help them fix their mess. It is my hope that they also come to Nigeria and help us fix our mess. It is either that or we have to live another 50 years of misery to our children and grand children.

  15. Teris

    January 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    haa!!! nigeria-ooo!!!
    well, i can’t say i’m surprised. disappointed, very.
    but wat can u really expect wen u have Lawan-620 still a sitting law-maker? and so goes the law of the land.
    nna, naija, be very careful!

  16. Concern

    January 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Nigeriaaaaaaaaaa.. Insult upon Injury right in our faces they label us as fools who would just go with anything. How can punishment for stealing such a lump sum be two years of jail or 750k? Like dont understand and we are supposed to swallow this, How much did they pay that judge to let the country down like this? whyyyy? when would NIgeria move forward my God!

  17. Tess

    January 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Guys the reason such atrocities happen is because good people only talk. What will you do about this injustice? What would Jesus do? What would Mohammed(pbuh) do? Any ideas friends?

  18. Som-t

    January 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    27billion naira thief gettn 750k fine , dnt you just luv this country…….I cry everyday for this nation..God help us.

  19. Baba Nshaki

    January 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Question for Judge Abubarka Talba:
    1) How much were you compensated for your “lenient sentence”?.
    2) Do you know how most Nigerians feel about your so-called sentence?
    3) How about the masses of retired persons who were ripped off by this pension fraud?
    4) What sentence would you have given Ibori?
    5) Do you represent the typical Nigerian Judge?

  20. shedrack asuareneme

    January 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I am not a lawyer but what i do hear my lawyer friends say is “no man shall benefit from his own wrong” but in this case i laugh in my native language. How on earth will the judge cite his immediate family as one of the reasons why he is granting leniency to the accused? Who has been enjoying the benefits of the loot with him? Is it not the family? What about other families that has lost bread winners over non payment of their pensions?

  21. TEENTEE

    January 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Well, here we go again! The judiciary which has been largely proclaimed as the last hope of the masses has eventually exposed the rot it has carefully concealed all this while. This person (sorry I can’t bring myself to call him a judge or umpire…even of a tennis game) did not start his career yesterday. This is a very high profile case with a lot of media hype hence the outrage…….. Yes, but what really kept me awake since that his ruling is the thought………. HOW MANY INNOCENT SOULS COULD THIS PERSON AND PEOPLE LIKE HIM HAVE SENT TO LANGUISH IN NIGERIA’S PRISONS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE POOR?

  22. Rasheeed Anbali

    February 2, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Nigeria! Nigeria! Nigeria!!! .
    A Country that gives pass mark to thief just because of plea bargain. I hail una o, first time offender my ass

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