The Nigerian court admitted the documents as evidence against the 34 accused persons
The Federal High Court on Wednesday in Abuja admitted in evidence bank documents in respect of 56 accounts allegedly used in siphoning N12 billion Federal Civil Servants pension funds.
A former Director of Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Sani Teidi, and 33 others are standing trial for the missing funds.
A compliant officer with Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc, Anthony Mapkwe, produced information on 52 accounts, while Mr. Emphriam Atajiri, an official of Skye Bank Nigeria Plc produced information on four accounts.
The EFCC claimed that the accounts, which are officially used by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation for pension purposes, were hacked into by the accused persons.
Justice Adamu Bello adjourned the matter to March 14 for the hearing of the substantive issues.
Phina Chidi, Deputy Director (Finance and Accounts) and Aliyu Bello, Personal Assistant to Shuaibu are among the accused.
In a related development, Mustapha Gadanya, an EFCC operative, told the court that the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation invited the commission to investigate allegation of ghost pensioners.
Mr. Gadanya spoke while giving evidence in another criminal suit brought against Sani Teidi, former Director in charge of pensions in the Office of the Head of Service.
Others standing trial are Ali Abacha, President, Nigeria Union of Pensioners and Actor Zal, the Secretary-General of the union.
He said “from our investigation, it was discovered that there were several thousands of ghost pensioners being paid monthly that ran into millions of naira’’.
“The accused persons were also linked to a fraud of inflating check-off dues of pensioners.’’
The EFCC had alleged that the second and the third accused persons (Abacha and Zal) retained the sum of N1.3 billion from the deal.
Mr. Teidi allegedly spent the sum of N430 million as his own share of the loot within the period of the alleged illegal transactions.
Sunday Ameh, the counsel to Mr. Teidi, however, opposed the attempt by the prosecution counsel, Emmanuel Egboagwu, to tender the witness’ written testimony as evidence.
Mr. Ameh said that “there is no practice in our law books that allows a written evidence to be tendered in a criminal matter.’’
In support of the objection, Solomon Umoh, the counsel to Mr. Abacha and Mr. Zal, submitted that it was only in civil matters that written testimonies could be tendered. The counsel said “the court must disregard the attempt by EFCC to give the court a new practice.’’
Mr. Egboagwu, however, urged the court to discountenance the objections raised by counsel to the accused persons.
He said “there is indeed a practice recognised by our law books that support tendering of written evidence in criminal matters”.
“My Lord, I am sorry I cannot remember any of the statute off-hand and I will, therefore, seek a short adjournment to enable me provide some.”
Mr. Bello adjourned the matter to March 12 for continuation.
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