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Saturday, 10 October 2015
N18.3bn Pension Scam: Judge fixes 4th of Nov for hearing against Ex-Pension Director Teidi and others
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed November 4, 2015 for definite hearing, in a 21-count charge of failure to declare assets, obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy and concealing the illicit origin of stolen pension fund to the tune of N18.3bn brought by the EFCC against Sani Shuaibu Teidi, former Director of Pension Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Udusegbe Eric Omoefe (also known as Otega Akpotehir) and 10 others.
The trial judge, on October 8, 2015 also advised both the prosecution and defence to exchange all the documents needed to be served to one another at the appropriate addresses, before the new adjourned date as no excuses will be permitted again to extend the trial.
The decision of the judge came on the heels of the outcome of the day’s sitting. The prosecution could not present its witnesses in court, though they were present in court to testify against the accused persons. The inability to do so was due to the defence counsel’s claim that it was not served with the set of bank affidavit and statements of account, which were to be produced in court by the bank officials.
However, prosecuting counsel, Peter Ezegamba, told the court that the defence was served a day before using the address given by the defence, which was within the jurisdiction of the court.
He added that: “The bank statements being requested by the defence had already been frontloaded in the proof of evidence as the bankers are only here to produce documents and show that the documents were generated from their computer.”
Counsel for Teidi, A. S. Akpala, claimed that no processes were served on him as “the address the prosecution sent the processes to were not the address I’m using in this court proceeding.” He argued further that if the case goes on without his team having the processes, they will not have an opportunity for fair hearing.
After entertaining the arguments from both counsel, Justice Kolawole, fixed November 4, 2015 for “definite hearing”.
The accused persons are alleged to have used the following companies – Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthatak Nigeria Limited, Krasiva Nigeria Limited, Badawulu Ventures Limited, Ebunu Attah Investment, Muha Millennium Motors Limited and Riba-ile Petroleum Limited, to steal pension funds.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr Sani Teidi Shuaibu, while serving as Director of Pension Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation of Nigeria, Udusegbe Eric Omoefe (also known as Otega Akpotehir), Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthathak Nigeria Limited and Krasiva Nigeria Limited at various times between March 2010 and June 2010 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, conspired to obtain by false pretence and with intent to defraud various sums in aggregate amount of N1,951,592,000.00 from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Pension Account held by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, through fictitious contract payments into bank accounts held by Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthathak Nigeria Limited and Krasiva Nigeria Limited with the former Oceanic Bank Plc now known as Ecobank Limited, and 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.”
It will be recalled that Teidi’s re-arraignment by the EFCC followed his application to the Chief Judge through his counsel, Sunday I. Ameh, SAN, seeking the transfer of the case to another court over an alleged bias of the then trial judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi.