N4.56 Billion Pension Scam: Court Remands Suspects In Prison

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Monday, 09 May 2011
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday 9th May, 2011 ordered Dr. Sani Teidi Shuaibu, a former Director, Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and four other accused persons standing trial over a N4.56 billion Pension scam, to be remanded in Kuje prison pending the fulfilment of bail conditions granted them.
Shuaibu and his co- accused persons who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were admitted to bail by Justice Adamu Bello on the following terms: bail sum of N10 million each and a surety each in like sum, sureties must have properties in Abuja; and such properties must be verified by the court, the value of the property should not be less than N10 million. Besides, the accused persons’ traveling documents which are with the EFCC should be transferred to the court.
Dr. Shuaibu, Mrs. Phina Ukamaka Chidi and 30 other suspects are facing trial on a 134 count charge bordering on diversion of pension funds, abuse of office, using ghost pensioners to pay N2million and N3million into their accounts monthly and diversion of the same amount through an award of fictitious contracts to companies which they manage. Shuaibu is a former Director, Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, while Ukamaka Chidi is a former Deputy Director (Finance and Accounts), in the pension office.
Aliyu Bello was a Personal Assistant to Dr. Shuaibu. Other accused persons are Aliyu Bello, Garba Abdullahi Tahir, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Abdullahi Omeiza, Computer Plaza and Essential gadget Ventures.
Others are Mobis Point Investment Ltd, Obista Enterprises, Shallow Well Ventures, Mof Investment Ltd, Zumba Resources, Pam Investment and Properties Ltd, Moshfad Enterprises, Newgate Projects Ltd, RedWings Energy Ltd, RedWing Procurement Services Ltd, Woodland Industries NIG Ltd. Others are Nwab Tessy O Enterprises Nigeria, Chris J. Junior Ventures, Uthaka Nigeria Ltd, Bashinta Nigeria ltd, Haleath Enterprises, Gozinda Enterprises, Omozua Ventures, S.S Badejo Enterprises, Lopee ventures, Fafama Oil and gas Ltd, Fafama estate Developer Ltd and Riba-Ile Petroleum
After reading the count charges to the accused persons and their pleas taken, Chris Uche, SAN, Counsel to the second accused person (Mrs. Phina Ukamaka Chidi), prayed the court to grant her bail as the offences for which she is being tried are bail able. He however told the court that whatever decision the court took will be binding on all other accused persons. Other counsels aligned with this position. But EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla argued that the Commission may accede to bail only on the condition that the accused persons report to the EFCC every Monday as more investigations are ongoing.
Obla also asked the court to either rule that the EFCC continues to hold onto the accused persons’ traveling documents or deposits same with the court. He further asked the court to keep in view the fact that some of the offences the accused are being tried attract a jail term of up to ten years imprisonment without an option of fine.
He also prayed the court to make an order that will ensure that the accused persons attend their trial.
It would be recalled that the court had on April 11, 2011 issued a warrant of arrest on Mr. Aliyu Bello and Abdullahi Omeiza, two of the accused persons among the thirty three (33) persons. The warrant of arrest was issued owing to their failure to appear before Justice Bello to take a plea over their proposed arraignment. EFCC Counsel, Godwin Obla had in an oral application, prayed the court to issue a bench warrant on the two accused persons since they have been served long ago with the charges and have deliberately refused to answer the call of justice by not being in court to take a plea, a circumstance restraining the remaining accused persons from taking their pleas.
"I want to urge the court pursuant to section 351 of the Criminal Procedure Act, CPA, to issue a bench warrant to compel the two accused persons to appear in court and take their plea", Obla submitted. Counsel to the 1st accused person, S I Ameh SAN, and other defense counsels also aligned themselves with Obla. In response, Justice Adamu Bello issued a bench warrant on the accused persons and adjourned the case to May 9th, 2011 for the accused persons to take their plea. They were all in court today.
Count one of the 134 count charge reads "that you Dr. Shaiubu Sani Teidi, Phina Ukamaka Chidi Computer Plaza, Essential gadget Ventures, Mobis Point Investment Ltd, Obista Enterprises, Shallow Well Ventures at various times, between 2008 and 2010 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, conspired among yourself to induce the pension department, office of the head of service of the federation of Nigeria, to deliver to you, various sums in the aggregate N176, 910, 650 (One Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Nine Hundred and Ten Thousand , Six Hundred and Fifty Naira) property vide the medium of a contract induced by false pretences, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The case is adjourned to June 30, 2011 for commencement of trial.
Femi Babafemi
Media & Publicity Unit
Source: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
 
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