Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Court orders Tukur to face trial for pension fraud

Published:

The former account officer of the Federal Civil Service Commission, is being tried for pension fraud.

An Abuja High Court on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by a former account officer of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Hassan Tukur, to stop his trial.

Mr. Tukur’s bid to quash the criminal charges preferred against him by the EFCC was dismissed by Justice Maryann Anenih.

Ms. Anenih ruled that there is sufficient evidence before the court linking him to the alleged crime.

The EFCC had in July arraigned Mr. Tukur, alongside Babatunde Abisuga and Mohammed Ndakupe, all former staff of the civil service commission, on a 12- count charge of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The anti-graft commission alleged that Mr. Tukur, Mr. Abisuga and Mr. Ndakupe forged and fraudulently converted to their personal use, N109 million meant for the payment of pension to civil servants.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In her ruling, Ms. Anenih struck out the application as lacking in merit.

The judge ruled that the proof of evidence before the court had established a prima facie case and that there was a nexus between the accused and the proof of evidence.

The judge said the course of justice would be better served if the case proceeded to trial.

Ms. Anenih also frowned at the application of the accused person challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.

She said that the arguments by Mr. Tukur’s counsel, Zack Akuboh, that the court should not entertain the suit because his client had entered a plea bargain with the EFCC, could not stand.

“The agreement the accused said he had entered into with the EFCC is not immunity from prosecution. I therefore refuse to grant this application and it is hereby dismissed.

“The accused is ordered to defend himself and must stand trial,” Ms. Anenih said.

She adjourned the case to February 6, 2013 for the commencement of trial.

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