Pension Thief Gets N10m Bail

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Convicted pension thief, John Yahaya Yusufu, who slumped in court last Monday while standing trial on an alleged false declaration of assets involving the sum of N290 million have been granted bail.

He was granted bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum. The court ordered that the surety must be a Director in the Federal Civil Service who must be owner of a landed property in Abuja and must submit the title documents to the property to the court’s Registrar.

Yusufu was also directed to deposit his International passport with the court and was ordered not to travel outside the country without the permission of the court.

The court observed that the accused was remanded in prison custody since the 30th of January in a bid to save him from the public anger that trailed his sentencing by another court which tried him for embezzling some N29 billion from the Police pension office where he was formerly at the helm of affairs.

It also noted that reminding him in prison was not however meant to punish him as he has not been found guilty of the present charge.

Yusufu is standing trial for not disclosing his interest in a N250 million fixed deposit which was fixed in the name of a company known as SY-A Global Services Limited, incorporated by him and solely owned by him and members of his immediate family at Zenith Bank International Plc.

He was also alleged to have a N10 million fixed deposit in an account his company maintains at First Bank of Nigeria Plc and another N29 million fixed through one Mr. Danjuma Mele, who is also scheduled to testify as a witness in the trial.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had opposed Yusufu’s bail application and had invited the court to take into cognizance the recent conviction of the accused on the charge of criminal breach of trust which clearly shows that Yusufu’s antecedent does not encourage the court to exercise its discretion in his favour.

The anti graft agency pointed out that Yusufu did not deny his previous conviction on criminal breach of trust in the affidavit he filed in support of his application for bail and urged the court to consider the gravity of his present offence, which is felony, an offence punishable with imprisonment term of five years, as the proof of evidence filed alongside the charge, and to deny him bail.

The court had earlier commenced Yusufu’s trial having allowed the EFCC to call its first witness, a civil servant working under the Asset Forfeiture and Tax Investigation Unit of the agency, Mr. Mustapha Sani.

No sooner had the witness commenced his testimony than Yusufu, who had been standing in the dock, started shaking violently.

His lawyer pleaded with the court to allow the accused person to sit down, a request that was promptly granted by the court but as the accused made to sit down on the seat inside the dock, he slumped forward across the wooden dock. His lawyer and prison officials who had brought him to court from Kuje prison rushed to him and assited him to sit on the seat.

At this point, the court indicated that the accused is not fit to continue with the trial and adjourned the trial to 22nd April.

—Nnamdi Felix/Abuja