Daily Trust (Abuja)

30 January 2013

Nigeria: Judgement On Accountant Who Stole N1.4 Billion Is Okay - Yahaya Mahmoud

Photo: Leadership
Court gavel.

Kaduna — The punishment meted out to one of the eight civil servants charged with alleged misappropriation of N33 billion from the Police Pension Office is enough, Kaduna-based lawyer Barrister Yahaya Mahmoud said yesterday.

Chief Accountant of Police Pension office John Yakubu Yusuf was sentenced to two years imprisonment on three count charge with option of N750,000 fine by an Abuja High Court, a judgment that was trailed by mixed reactions.

The lawyer said "the convict lost all he acquired, lost his name and future; that's enough lesson to him; enough to deter others.

"Crimes are set of specific wrongs which the state defines, have duty to prevent and punishes when they are committed. In punishment or sentencing some things are taken into consideration. Firstly, whether the convict wasted the time of the court. Secondly, the purpose of sentencing is to punish the convict, deter others and compensate the victim. Thirdly, there are provisions for forfeiture," he said.

He said the convict in the instant case will forfeit his confiscated properties and monies in his account. "He is now a convict. He can't get job and can't seek for political office," he added.

According to him, those who can be deterred will be. Those who will not be deterred, will not be, no matter how harsh the punishment.

He said "in 1970's during the first public execution of armed robbers in Kaduna, there were six armed robberies and a number of pick pockets at the venue of the execution which was a police shooting range.

"If we want a reduction in corruption by public officers, we need to have proper and sincere due processes and we need to reform the legal system. The courts and judges apply the law as they are passed."

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