Pension scam: Accused persons trial stalled

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Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

The resumed trial of former public servants before an Abuja High Court was on Monday stalled following the applications filed by some of the accused persons seeking for the quashing of the 16 count charge.

The former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Pension Office, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, alongside some of the accused persons wants the court to quash the charges slammed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the ground that the proof of evidence did not disclose any crime against them.

Justice Talba Mohammed subsequently adjourned further proceedings to 26 June.

Atiku Abubakar Kigo was docked alongside Mr. Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yufufu, Sani Habila Zira and one woman, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Oyegbula.

They were alleged to have committed criminal breach of trust as public officers in respect of the sum of N 14, 518, 567, 724.36 (Fourteen Billion, Five Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty Four Naira and Thirty Six kobo), punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code Act, CAP. 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2007.

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The amount which allegedly formed part of the Nigeria Police Pension Fund domiciled First Bank of Nigeria Plc was said to have been diverted by the accused persons while they were supervising the funds.

Esai Dangabar, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira allegedly helped themselves to the tune of N8.2 billion from the Police Pension Fund between January and. December, 2009 alone.

Exactly a year later, between January 2010 and February 2011, Atiku Abubakar Kigo replaced Esai Dangabar in the scam and they jointly accessed, fraudulently, another sum of N4.740 billion again from the Funds.

Soon after this amount was hauled out of the Pension Fund, Ahmed Inuwa Wada replaced Atiku Abubakar Kigo and teamed up with the threesome, Yusufu, Onyegbula and Zira, to cart away yet another chunk of money amounting to a little above N858 million between February 2011 and June 2011.

On the 31st of January, 2011, they all gathered together, all the six of them, for yet another trip to the treasury and were alleged to have help themselves to another N656.56 million.