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Update: Freed pension thief remanded in prison, fails to declare N250mn

The former pension boss, John Yusufu, who was freed by a court on Monday after paying his fine, secretly hid money including N250 million in his bank account while in office, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told an Abuja Court.

Mr. Yusufu had been convicted on Monday by Abubakar Talba, Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, Abuja, for theft after pleading guilty to three of a 20 – count charge of stealing N32.8 billion. He pleaded guilty to stealing about N2billion of the sum and was convicted to two years each on the three counts. The jail term was to run concurrently. He was however, granted bail of N250,000 on each charge, which he promptly paid and was freed. He was later re-arrested by the anti-graft commission.

The EFCC on Wednesday arraigned Mr. Yusufu, a former Director of Police Pension Office before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a four-count charge bordering on failure to make full disclosure of asset and liability in his asset declaration form. The commission said he failed to declare his interest in a company known as SY-A Global Services Limited.

All public officials in Nigeria are expected to declare their asset by filling a form with the Code of Conduct Bureau. The EFCC alleges that Mr. Yusufu was economical with the truth when he filled his form. Mr. Yusufu is alleged to have used the company to lodge N250 million with a new generation bank. He pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge. EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, asked the court to remand the accused in prison custody and fix a date for trial. Counsel to the defendant, Gabriel Tsenyen, prayed the court to grant him a short adjournment to enable him file an application for bail. He also prayed the court to remand his client in EFCC custody.

However, Mr. Bello ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to March 1, 2013. One of the fresh charges against Mr. Yusufu reads; “that you John Yakubu Yusufu on or about 14th February, 2012 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division knowingly failed to make full disclosure of your assets and liability in the Declaration of Assets Form filled by you, by not declaring your interest in the N250,000,000 (Two hundred and Fifty Million Naira) you lodged in a fixed deposit account with the Zenith Bank in the name of SY-A Global Services Limited, a company in which you are the sole signatory to its account and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 27(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment, etc) ACT CAP E1 2004.”

Mr. Yusufu was among six top officials of the Police Pension Office arraigned by the EFCC on March 29, 2012, on a 16-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

The other accused persons are Esai Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Veronica Onyegbula and Sani Zira. Mr. Kigo was the Director of the Police Pension Office. They allegedly stole over N32.8billion from the police pension office. The EFCC later amended the charges to a 20-count charge, three of which Mr. Yusuf pleaded guilty to.

SOURCE: PREMIUM TIMES

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