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N22.9bn police pension fraud: Supreme Court affirms 6-year jail term for ex-Director John Yusuf

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed the six-year jail term imposed on a former Assistant Director in the Police Pension Office, John Yakubu Yusuf, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over an N22.9bn fraud.

The apex court in a judgment read by Justice Tijjani Abubakar also ordered the convict to refund N22.9b to government coffers.

A statement on Wednesday by the EFCC Head of Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said Mr Yusuf is one of the six civil servants facing prosecution for allegedly stealing N32.8 billion from the Police Pension Fund.

He was initially convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with an option of fine of N750, 000 by a Federal Capital Territory High Court presided over by Justice Abubakar Talba.

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The EFCC, dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment. Ruling on the substantive matter, the Court of Appeal held unanimously that the three counts involving Yusuf (Counts 17, 18, and 19) clearly stated the amounts he converted for his personal use. He pleaded guilty to the three counts and thereby admitted to the conversion of an aggregate sum of about N24 billion to his personal use. He was therefore sentenced to six year in prison and ordered to return the stolen N22.9billion.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Yusuf prayed the apex court to set aside his conviction and the order to refund N22.9b on the ground that the Court of Appeal judgment was a miscarriage of justice..

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But the Supreme Court today upheld the decision of the appellate court.

Justice Abubakar said that the appeal of the former pension Director seeking to set aside the six years jail term against him was frivolous, vexatious and devoid of merit.

He further held that victims of the convicted Director deserved restitution which can only be achieved through justice.

The EFCC had in June 2020 re-arrested Yusuf, who has been on the run since 2018 after the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, sentenced him to six years imprisonment and a fine of N22.9 billion, for conniving with five other to steal N32.8 billion of Police Pension Fund.

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Based on his re-arrest, Justice Baba Yusuf of the FCT High Court on Monday, June 22, 2020, issued a remand order that will enable him to serve his six years’ jail term in Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja.

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