EFCC may declare fugitive pension director wanted over N22bn fraud
General - Business
There are strong indications that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission may declare a pension fraud convict, John Yusuf, wanted for evading prison after the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, upheld his conviction for pension fraud.[b]
The court had jailed the former Assistant Director for two years and asked him to refund N22.9bn.
Our correspondent could not ascertain if the convict had refunded the money as ordered by the court.
Yusuf had been living as a free man since March 2018, instead of serving his jail term as ordered by the court. He had mysteriously disappeared while the EFCC and the Nigerian Prisons Service traded blames over his disappearance.
A senior EFCC official, who expressed consternation over the development, confided in Sunday PUNCH that the commission decided to declare the convict wanted following his refusal to give himself up to either the anti-graft agency or the prisons service.
He stated, “Since Yusuf made himself scarce, the commission has decided to go after him by declaring him wanted. We are in the process of obtaining a court order to issue a warrant of arrest which would mandate every law enforcement agency to arrest him wherever he is found and return him to prison where he should be.”
Yusuf was initially arraigned before Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, for stealing N32.8bn police pension fund in 2013.
He pleaded guilty to three counts and was sentenced by Talba to two years in jail, with the option of paying a fine of N750,000.
The judgment triggered a national outrage prompting the EFCC to approach the appellate court to set aside the ruling on April 26, 2013. Justice Talba was subsequently suspended by the National Judicial Council for one year without pay for failing to exercise his discretion judicially.
Dismissing the objection by Yusuf’s lawyer, the justices of the Court of Appeal held unanimously that the respondent admitted to the conversion of an aggregate sum of about N24bn for his personal use.
The judges ruled that the sentence of the trial court did not serve as a deterrent to both the convict and others. Consequently, they sentenced Yusuf to two years on each of the counts and also ordered him to pay a N20bn fine and additional N2.9bn penalty.
The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, failed to react on Friday when asked about the failure of the commission to apprehend the elusive convict.
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Jul 14, 2019 03:49 PM