30 January 2013

Nigeria: Reps to Amend Penal Code That Freed Pension Scam Convict

Photo: Leadership
Court gavel.

The House of Representatives has vowed to review sections of the constitution, the penal and criminal codes, cited on Monday in a controversial ruling that freed a former official convicted of stealing N2 billion of police pension savings.

The penal and criminal codes are amongst some of Nigeria's oldest laws with many of its punishments often seen as ridiculously mild on serious crimes.

An Abuja High Court judge, Abubakar Talba, on Monday offered an option of a meager N250, 000 fine in lieu of a two year sentence on each of a three-count charge Mr. Yusuf, a former assistant director in the police pension office, pleaded guilty to .

The ruling has sparked calls for reviews and sanctions against the judge; and the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accused of honing the frivolous plea bargain with Mr. Yusuf.

Mr. Yusuf regained his freedom soon after the ruling after paying the paltry sum.

The EFCC on Wednesday re-arrested and arraigned Mr. Yusuf, this time before a Federal High Court, Abuja on a fresh four-count charge bordering on failure to make full disclosure of some asset in his asset declaration form.

Lawmakers at the House of Representative on Wednesday directed the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and EFCC to appeal the first ruling and seek stricter punishment for those involved in the pension scam.

The lawmakers said they will commence the review of section 309 of the constitution, the provisions of the Penal and Criminal codes for such offences.

"It is incumbent on us to address this issue of monumental injustice committed against our men and women in uniform", minority whip, Samson Osagie, who move the motion, said. "The judgment in this case did not meet the justice of the matter, given the huge amount of fraud committed by Mr. John Yusuf in the Police Pension Fraud."

Mr. Yusuf also pleaded not guilty to the new charges brought against him.

Presiding judge, Adamu Bello, ordered that he be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to March 1, 2013.

Copyright © 2013 Premium Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.