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Former Director in prison custody over N439m pension funds scam

Former Director in prison custody over N439m pension funds scam A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, remanded a former Director of the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of

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قديم 05-08-2012, 03:37 PM
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افتراضي Former Director in prison custody over N439m pension funds scam

Former Director in prison custody over N439m pension funds scam

A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, remanded a Former Director of the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Sani Shuaibu, in prison for allegedly diverting N439 million from pension funds.

Shuaibu was sent to prison shortly after he pleaded not guilty to an amended four-count criminal charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday.

The anti-graft agency told the court that the ex-pension boss connived with four separate companies and diverted funds meant for retired pensioners in the country, saying it had successfully traced how some of the looted funds were spent by the accused person.

The firms, the accusation

EFCC further gave names of the conniving companies, which it also joined as accused persons in the matter, as Badawulu Ventures Limited, Ebunu Attah Investment, Muha Millenium Motors Limited and Riba-ile Petroleum Limited.

The companies were said to have provided their bank accounts for the illicit transfer of monies from the pension funds, sequel to an agreed sharing formula between them and the Former pensions department boss.

The prosecuting agency said it had garnered sufficient evidence to prove that the 1st accused person, Dr. Shaibu, used proceeds of the uncanny deal to purchase a hotel in Abuja, adding that the said fraud was perpetuated at various times between April 2009 and March 15, 2010.

Specifically, the ex-pension boss was accused of conspiring with the accused companies to purchase Brifina Hotels Limited, situated at Plot 1106 Cadastral Zone BO2 Durumi District Area 1, Abuja, with Certificate of Occupancy No: 1807w-1cc4z-6723r-cf4eu-20, property of one A. E. Bright Future Motors Nig. Ltd, to the tune of N399 million, and used another N40 million to renovate the hotel.

EFCC noted that the reason the 1st accused person embraced the rigorous process of first transferring the pension funds to the accounts of the companies before withdrawing same through proxies, was to conceal the illicit origin of the resources, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and punishable under section 14 (1) (b) of the same Act.

No bail

Meanwhile, shortly after the accused person took his plea yesterday, trial Justice Adamu Bello declined to allow him on bail, saying he should remain in prison till tomorrow when the merit of his bail application would be considered.

His bail request was turned down by the trial judge, following a vehement objection raised by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla.

Though the defence counsel, Mr. Sunday I. Ameh, SAN, pleaded the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition, noting that not only had the court seized the international passport of the accused person ab-initio, but also in view of the fact that the said hotel was a fixed asset that could be confiscated, should he jump bail.

Alleged threat to witnesses’ lives

EFCC, however, persuaded the trial judge to refuse the plea, alleging that the pension boss threatened to kill four of its principal witnesses.

EFCC lawyer, Obla, told the court that the affected witnesses had already written a “Save Our Soul” letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department, CID, in Abuja, even as he tendered the said letter as an exhibit before the court.

Obla further drew attention of the court to the fact that the erstwhile pension boss was equally facing a similar trial over his alleged involvement in another N12 billion pension scam.

Bogus contracts

He noted that the accused person was also facing trial alongside five others for allegedly swindling the Federal Government through over 130 bogus contracts purportedly awarded to 25 different companies between 2008 and 2010.

Also accused…

Others also on trial are the Deputy Director, Pensions Finance and Account at the Office of the Head of Service, who was a signa-tory to pension accounts, Mrs Phina Ukamaka Chidi; an ex-Assistant Director in-Charge of Variation, Mr Mohammed Ahmed; the cash officer of pensions accounts, Mr. Garba Abdullahi Tahir, and the Head Final Accounts at the OHCSF, Mr. Emmanuel Olanipekun.

Former Director in prison custody over N439m pension funds scam

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