Five top Sokoto govt officials in N553.9m Pension scandal, docked by EFCC

Sokoto 1

Four of the suspects

Five top Sokoto govt officials in N553.9m Pension scandal, docked by EFCC
Four of the suspects

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, arraigned five senior officials of the Sokoto State Primary Education Staff Pension Board before the Sokoto State High Court, on a 27-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, forgery, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of the sum of N553,985,624.10.

They were arraigned before Justice Muhammad Muhammad.

The defendants include the Director of Finance and Supply, Hassana Moyi; Secretary, Abubakar Aliyu; Deputy director, Halliru Ahmed; Accountant, Kabiru Ahmed and Dahiru Muhammad Isa, Cashier.

One of the counts reads: “That you Abubakar Aliyu while being the Secretary of Sokoto State Primary Staff Pension Board, Hassana Moyi while being the Director of Finance and Supply, Primary Staff Pension Board, Haliru Ahmed while being the Deputy Director, Finance, Primary Staff Pension Board, Kabiru Ahmed while being the Accountant, Primary Staff Pension Board and Dahiru Muhammad Isa while being the Cashier of Primary Staff Pension Board sometime between 2017 and 2019 in Sokoto, Sokoto State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court while being entrusted with dominion over money for the payment of pension and gratuity, dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N553,985,624.10 (Five Hundred and Fifty Three Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty Four Naira, Ten Kobo) in violation of the mode in which such trust was to be discharged and thereby committed Criminal Breach of Trust contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Law CAP 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria and punishable under Section 312 of the same Law”.

They pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Consequently, the prosecution counsel, S. H Sa’ad, prayed the court to fix a trial date and order accelerated hearing of the matter. But defence counsel, A. Y Abubakar made an oral application for the bail of his clients

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Justice Muhammad granted the defendants bail in the sum of N55 million each and one surety in like sum, who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the Court and possess a landed property.

The matter was adjourned till July 26, 2021 for hearing.

The defendants’ trouble began sometime in 2019 when the Commission received complaints from several primary school pensioners, alleging that since retirement from service, they had yet to be paid their gratuities.

During investigations, one of them was shown a payment voucher allegedly used to pay his gratuity in the sum of N1, 484,012.39, bearing his name and a signature.

But he denied receiving the money, and also disowned the signature on the voucher.