Police Pension Fund Fraud: Assistant Director Sentenced to 6 Years Imprisonment, Fined N23bn

A former Assistant Director of the Federal Civil Service, John Yakubu Yusuf, who was accused of stealing police pension fund, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment and a fine of N23bn.
Yusuf was in 2013 sentencd to two years in jail with an option of N750,000 for stealing N24bn the pension fund.
The Abuja Court of Appeal on Wednesday upturned the earlier judgment of the lower court based on appeal filed by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Yusuf was arraigned on a 20-count charge in 2013 alongside four other officials, including Atiku Abubakar, a Permanent Secretary, Ahmed Wada, a Director; Veronica Onyegbula, a cashier; and Sani Zira, an ICT officer.
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Abdu Aboki, in a unanimous judgment, Wednesday, described the High Court’s sentence as unreasonable and substituted it with a total of six years’ imprisonment with an addition of N22.9bn fine.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the lead judgment of the court, ruled that “the sentences levied” by the High Court “are clearly light and lenient ones.”
The Judge ruled that this allowed “the convict, who had admitted misappropriating or stealing N24bn, the option to pay the sum of N250,000 per count of offence in lieu of serving a prison term of two years for the offence,” to enjoy the huge balance he had in his possession.
He added that the “amount” of the sentences “is paltry, a pittance and unreasonably low.”
Justice Agim noted that it was “disproportionate to the amount stolen and therefore can comfortably and quickly be paid by the convict from the humongous amount stolen.”
He added that with the sentence, the convict would be left with “a huge balance of the stolen funds in his possession and without really causing him any pain of punishment.”
In its brief of argument filed on September 17, 2013, the EFCC asked the Appeal Court to determine, “whether the trial Judge exercised his discretion judicially and judiciously when having convicted the respondent of a three count charge of conversion of over N23bn contrary to section 309 of the Penal Code, His Lordship imposed two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N250, 000 on each of the three counts.”
Yusuf, however, argued that the notice of appeal was filed outside the mandatory 90 days and was therefore in contravention of Section 24 (2)(b) of the Court of Appeal Act 2010. He therefore asked the court to dismiss the appeal.
However, the Appeal Court Judges, in a unanimous decision dismissed his objection and ruled that “Having considered the computation of time volunteered by both parties, the question to be answered was whether the day the judgment of the trial court was delivered was to be inclusive in the computation of the mandatory 90 days for which a notice of appeal was to be filed?
“That the day the judgment of the trial court was delivered being the 28th January, 2013, was not to be included in the computation of the 90 days.
“That since the day of the judgment is not included, the 90 days starts running from the 29th January, 2013 and the 90th day will fall on a Sunday.
“That by virtue of s. 15(2) of the Interpretation Act CAP 123, where the last day is a holiday, the counting shall continue until the end of the next following day which is not a holiday.
“That since the 90th day was a Sunday and by virtue of s. 15 (5) of Interpretation Act, a Sunday is a holiday, the next day which the notice of appeal was filed is within time, hence the appeal is competent and is therefore allowed”.

Author: News Editor

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