25th October, 2013
Head, Internal Audit, Police Pension Office, Mr. Adeyemo Julius Adebolu, has told a High Court in the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory, that he never received any voucher for audit payment of a sum of N14billion.
Adebolu is a prosecution witness in the N32 billion trial of the seven officers of the police Pension Office by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
They are: Mrs. Uzoma Cyril Attang, Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira, and Christian Madubuike.
At the resumed hearing on October 25, 2013, Adebolu, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told Justice Husseini Baba when he was shown First Bank statement of account of the police pension office on withdrawals to the tune of 14billion that the withdrawals under his watch were a big embarrassment done without his knowledge. “I said I don’t know anything about the cheques before that day”.
When further asked if there is any voucher backing the payments, he replied “Honestly sir, there is no voucher I received for audit payment, that’s the truth” Adebolu said.
The Witness had earlier told the court that there was a federal government circular mandating all payments to be made via E-payments from January 1, 2009 and that the police pension office had flouted this order up till September 2009.
The court admitted the circular as Exhibit P5, Prosecution also tendered as Exhibits, bundles of certified Cheques from the First bank as Exhibit P4 raised in the names of two accused persons Veronica U Onyegbula / Director, Police Pension Office (DPPO).
Adebolu also told the court that it was when he was invited to EFCC that he was shown the bank statement and cheques with regards to the payment.
He further told the court that verification exercise/tours were conducted up to four times in a year in the police pension office and that he made payments on an average of N400million for the duty tour allowance (DTA) for officers involved in the verification exercises.
He also cited an instance where he got an alert of N2million and N5million respectively and when he sought clarification from the Head of Account, Mr John Yakubu Yusuf, he was told that the money is meant for payment of the senate and house committee members on police pension.
He said that when he asked why the money was raised in his name, he was told that management had agreed that the money will be paid in cash rather than electronically and the voucher duly approved by the Director, Police Pension Office was then raised before he cashed and handed over the N7million from his account to the Head of the central pay Office.
He also told the court that during festivity period like Sallah, Christmas and Easter, Mr Yusuf had on about five occasions, called him and gave him money for his section, totalling N3.5million. “The instruction will always be that I should take 60% and share the balance to others, so because we are many, I take 30% and shared according to our rank”.
Defence counsel to the first accused person, Adegboyega Awomolo SAN asked the witness, if the EFCC invited him in writing or on phone, Adebolu replied and said he was invited on phone through his director.
The defence then asked for an adjournment for further questioning stating that the witness was important to the trial.
It would be recalled that seven officers of the Police Pension Office were arraigned on April 10, 2013, on a 20-count charge that borders on criminal breach of trust, an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2007.
Justice Baba then adjourned the case to start December 5 and 6, 2013, for continuation of trial.