N2. 2 Bn Pension Fraud: EFCC Tenders Documents in Court
The two prosecution witnesses that were led in evidence by Emmanuel Nonso Egwuagu from Godwin Obla’s Chambers at the resumed hearing of the case. They are Mr. Njoku Everest, Assistant General Secretary of the Union and Mr. Chikezie Aguocha, an official of First Bank of Nigeria, PLC.
While Everest tendered documents concerning total expenditure that was incurred by the Union, based on the money that came into the Union’s account between April 2008 to March 2011, Aguocha, who was subpoenaed on May 10, 2012, also produced seven documents which included statement of account of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners domiciled at the Garki branch of the bank, statement of account from the date it was opened to December 31st , 2011 as requested, account opening forms, mandate cards and reference forms and account update form. Also tendered before the court, was the payment instruction/instrument of the account within the stated period.
Dr. Shuaibu Sani Teidi, Alhaji Ali Abatcha and Elder Actor Zal were alleged to have, at various times, between 2008 and 2011 conspired to defraud, obtained from the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, various sums in the aggregate amount of over Two Billion Naira.
Dr. Teidi, while in the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, allegedly used his position to over pay the Check-Off Dues to the NUP which in turn returned the excess payment to Dr. Teidi.
In the proof of evidence presented before the court, Elder Zal had in his confessional statement to EFCC alleged that various sums of money were paid to Dr. Shuaibu. Zal said the NUP received Sixty Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Eight Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty naira, Forty eight kobo (N60, 958, 850.48) on April 23rd, 2009. Of the amount, N20 million was given to Dr. Shuaibu as kick back. On August 14, 2009, Sixty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Naira (N65, 500, 650) was received as check off dues and Dr. Teidi allegedly got N20 million as kick back. He said that of the Two Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty Two Naira, Ninety Five Kobo (N2, 290, 593, 322.95) that fraudulently accrued to NUP in the period of 2008 and 2011, Two Hundred and Forty Five Million Naira (N245, 000,000. 00) was allegedly given to Dr. Teidi as kick back.
According to Zal, the reason Dr. Teidi gave for his demand was for onward distribution to the Permanent Secretary, Head of Service, Accountant-general office, National Assembly and EFCC to facilitate smooth payment of monthly pensions to the pensioners.
After cross-examination of the prosecution witness by the defence counsels, led by S. I Ameh, the court adjourned the case till October 16, 2012, for continuation of trial.
Count one of the four count charge reads:
“that you, Dr. Shuaibu Sani Teidi, Alhaji Ali Abatcha and Elder Actor Zal at various times between 2008 and 2011 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to by false pretences and with intent to defraud obtained from the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the federation of Nigeria, various sums in the aggregate amount of N2, 290, 593, 322.35 (Two Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Three thousand, three Hundred and Twenty Two Naira, Thirty Five Kobo), thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the advance Fee 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.