The court of appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application filed by Esai Dangabar, one of the six suspects who allegedly defrauded the Police Pension Office to the tune of N32.8 Billion naira (Thirty Two billion, Eight Hundred million naira). Dangabar filed the application, challenging the decision of Justice Lawal H. Gumi of the FCT High Court which ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to attach and take possession of his assets and to freeze his bank accounts.
According to the order, “all the bank accounts currently being operated and maintained by Inuwa Wada at keystone and Zenith Bank all totalling 11 in number are hereby temporarily frozen until the determination of the charge Number FCT/Cr/64/2012. Similarly, all the bank accounts presently being operated and maintained by Esai Dangabar, Atiku A. Kigo and Veronica Onyegbula in the following banks: EcoBank, FCMB, Access Bank, Sky Bank, Fortis Micro Finance Bank, Aso Savings, GTB, Main Street Bank and Wema Bank are herby temporarily frozen pending the hearing and determination of all the said criminal charge No. FCT/64/2012 presently pending before this court”, the Judge ruled
But Dangabar, in an appeal dated May 16, 2012, raised three issues wherein he urged the appeal court to set aside the decision of the FCT high court. The issues he canvassed were: that the forfeiture order breached his right to fair hearing as enshrined in Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution; That the order of attachment and forfeiture made on May 3, 2012 is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution as it takes away his property right and presumption of innocence; and that the freezing order of his account did not comply with Section 34 of the EFCC Act.
In a unanimous decision read by Justice Kolawole Bada, the Appeal Court resolved the three issues raised by Dangabar in favour of the EFCC. Two other justices who held the same view were Justices Bukar Chua and Husseini Mukhtar. The court ruled that the interim forfeiture order pending the hearing of the criminal charge preferred against him is provided for under the EFCC Act. “The court, having been given that power, the exercise of it has not taken away the accused right to fair hearing”, the three justices reasoned.
The court further ruled that the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act is validated by Section 44 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and is therefore constitutional. Additionally, the court ruled that the presumption of innocence cannot be interpreted to allow a suspect to retain the proceed of the alleged crime made against him. Accordingly, the court ruled that Section 34 of the EFCC Act was substantially complied with by the lower court.
The six suspects who were arraigned on March 29, 2012, on a 16 criminal charges bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust before Justice Mohammed Talba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, were Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira. Kigo was the director of the Police Pension Office, before he was made permanent secretary.
The properties belonging to Esai are: Block of 3 Bedrooms flats at Gwarinpa (6 units), along EFAB Estate, Life camp; a Block of Bedrooms flats (6 units) at Mabushi District, beside ministry of works; Estate of 4 Bedroom Duplexes (16 units) behind Wuye Modern Market, Abuja; a mini Estate at No.19, Ukpabi Asika Street, Asokoro, Abuja; 12 Units of 2 bedroom Flats at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 5 Bedroom Duplexes 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 4 Bedroom Bungalows at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 2 Bedroom flat at Zone C, Apo Resettlement, layout. Others are: 5 Blocks of One bedroom flats at Zone C, Apo Resettlement layout, Abuja; Twin duplex of 5 bedroom & 3 rooms, 33, ML Wushishi BQ 1 Crescent, Utako, Abuja; 2 Blocks of 3 Bedroom flats, Area 3, Former NYSC Office, Abuja; 2 Bedroom , Area 2, Abuja, Behind Shopping , Complex , 3 Bedroom flats , 2 Goran village, along Adi Farms Ltd, Abuja-Keffi road, 180,000 Liters Storage Facility on a Land of about 5,000sqm, with Office Building, Workshop and 20 Loading Bay 1 Suleja, Niger State.
The vehicles belonging to Dangabar which the EFCC has been ordered forfeited to the EFCC pending the determination of the criminal charges against him were seven trucks with registration numbers XH 909 RSH; XH 910 RSH; XH 912 RSH; XH 908 RSH; XH 911; XH 913 RSH and XH 460 KUJ.
Companies belonging to Dangabar and five others, forfeited to the EFCC were Water and Dam Services; Halas Investment Ltd; At homes; Sy- A Global Services Ltd; Jidag Technical Services Ltd; Damule Nig Ltd; Marine Logistics; Amd Global Logistics; Future Logistics Ltd; Jenago Services Ltd; H Takano Nig Ltd; Noni Anthony System Ltd; Saudauna Enterprise ltd; Ulover International Resources Ltd; Somadok Express; Kechis Water Bottling Company; Kechis Events Managers; Kechis Straw; Kechis Plastic Extrusion company; Geopet Petroleum Services Ltd; Aina Farms: Otega Farms, Bannachi Global Links and Comm. Co. Ltd.
Dangabar’s bank accounts which the court ordered forfeited to the EFCC were: two Damule Nig Ltd accounts with FCMB, account number 0682060201527001 and 0421036411711; Damule Nig Ltd account with Main Street Bank account number 0421036411711; E. D. Laumara with Access Bank account number 040089772; three account numbers of Essai Dangabar Laumara’s with Access Bank are 040089765, 041803000000046 and 0418030000000036; Laumara E. Taure account with Skye Bank is 1760011903; three of Amd Global Logistics account with Skye Bank are 330177000008, 3300070000037and 3270130000352. Two accounts of Future Logistics Ltd with Skye bank are 3301770000615 and 3210070000425. Three accounts of Marine Logistics & Leisure Integrated in Skye Bank are 3301770000135, 3200070000025 and 3270130000303. Two Damule Nig Ltd accounts in Skye Bank are 3301770000720 and 3210070000607.
Dangabar’s Jenago Services Ltd account with Skye Bank is 1771173268; Esai Dangabar Laumara Ecobank 0141001008049; Jenago Services Ltd with Zenith Bank is 6216600883; Dangabar Mela Esai account with Zenith Bank is 6226600024; Taure Shuldi Zenith bank account number is 1002761482 and Esai Dangabar account in Fortis Micro Finance Bank Plc is 001301003534.