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Pension scam: Court adjourns again

16 October 2012, 16:04

Abuja - An Abuja High Court has again adjourned to Nov. 6, for ruling on an application to quash criminal charges in the N32.8 billion Police Pension Fund scam against three of the six accused persons.

It will be recalled that Justice Abubakar Talba had on July 17, fixed Oct. 9, for ruling on the motion filed by Atiku Kigo (a former Permanent Secretary), Mrs Veronica Onyegbula (Cashier) and Sani Zira (ICT Officer).

The three, who are charged along with Esai Dangabar (Director), Ahmed Wada (Director) and John Yusufu (Assistant Director), are members of staff of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, currently on suspension.

They were arraigned by the EFCC on a 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

The EFCC said the alleged fraud was perpetuated between January 2009 and June 2011.

On arrival in the court on that day, its Clerk, Malam Garba Isa informed the counsel to the accused, Mr Ricky Tarfa (SAN) and that of the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) that the ruling was not ready.

Isa said that the judge had asked the counsel in the case to pick another date for the ruling.

They had then, picked Tuesday Oct. 16.

But on arrival in court on Tuesday, after waiting for three hours, again the Court Clerk, told Tarfa and Jacobs to pick another

No reason was, however, not given for the judge's absence in court.

NAN recalls that the three accused persons want the court to quash the charges on the grounds that the EFCC has no evidence against them.

They insisted that there was no nexus linking them to the alleged offence.

Particularly, Onyegbula (third accused) insisted in her application that the EFCC could not prove to the court that she signed any document from the Pension Office, to collect the said money.

She also argued that she was just “an errand girl” and that since she was not in position of authority at the Pension Office, she could not have influenced any decision on the sharing of any money.

The EFCC, in a counter affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the application, and said that the accused persons were “employing delay tactics” to frustrate the quick disposal of the case.



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