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Supreme Court affirms 6-yr jail of ex-pension director

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed the Court of Appeal judgement, sentencing a former Federal Director of Pensions (FDP,) John Yusuf, to six years imprisonment for misappropriating N22.9 billion police pension fund.

Justice Tijjani Abubakar in his lead judgement, in an appeal by Yusuf, challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld the lower court’s decision, saying it was in order.

The apex court held that Yusuf and his fraudulent types must be told in clear language through court judgements that it was no longer business as usual.

Abubakar said that the appeal of the former federal pension director seeking to set aside the six-year jail term against him was frivolous, vexatious and devoid of merit.

He further held that victims of the convicted director deserved restitution which could only be achieved through justice.

The apex court in its unanimous judgement, however, held that the 2016 judgement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which sentenced Yusuf to two years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 was a slap on the wrist.

Abubakar said that the plea bargain at the high court and the ruling of the judge was not only bizarre, embarrassing but ridiculous and unacceptable.

“The sentence at the high court was meagre, insufficient and ridiculous in view of the huge negative impacts the fraudulent action of the convict must have caused the pensioners.

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“I have carefully read the case of the appellant, I found it to be frivolous, vexatious and devoid of merit.

“I make an order dismissing the appeal and affirming the findings and conclusion of the court below”, Abubakar said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Yusuf before FCT High Court in 2016 where he admitted committing the fraud and subsequently entered into a plea bargain with the anti-graft agency.

Justice Abubakar Talba of the FCT High Court had upon the plea bargain sentenced the former director to two years imprisonment with an option of N750.000 fine which he promptly paid and escaped imprisonment.

Irked by the sentence considered to be too ridiculous, EFCC had challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The Court of Appeal in its 2018 judgement, quashed the plea bargain, sentenced the former director to six years imprisonment without the option of a fine and also ordered him to refund the N22.9 billion to the coffer of the Federal Government.

Not satisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision, Yusuf approached the Supreme Court, to challenge the Court of Appeal’s judgement on the ground of gross miscarriage of justice.

He asked the apex court to overturn the six years imprisonment and reverse its order against him. NAN