One of the accused changed his counsel.
A change in counsel in the trial of seven officials of the Police Pension Fund, PPF, over alleged N35.8 billion pension scam, Thursday, stalled hearing in an FCT High Court.
A suspended permanent secretary, Atiku Kigo, Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Wada, Atiku Abubakar, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang, Christian Madubuke were standing trial on a 20-count charge of criminal breach of trust and conspiracy before Justice Hussain Baba-Yusuf.
At the resumed hearing, a counsel, Kyari Gadzama, informed the court that the matter is for continuation of testimony of Adeyemo Adebolu, the Head of Internal Audit of the Police Pension Office.
Mr. Gadzama, however informed the court that he will no longer be representing Mr. Wada (who is the third accused).
After Mr. Gadzama announced his withdrawal, Hassan Liman announced his appearance for the accused.
Mr. Liman, therefore, prayed the court for more time to study the case file.
The prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs, did not object to the application of the new counsel for an adjournment.
In his ruling, Justice Baba-Yusuf granted the new counsel’s request and adjourned the matter to March 11 for continuation of hearing.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the charge, alleged that the accused persons conspired and sequentially withdrew money from the Police Pension Fund (PPF) in an account domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria and shared it amongst themselves.
It also alleged that Mr. Wada particularly, collected N18 million from Unity Bank Plc, as his reward for retaining the Police Pension Account with the bank.
It also maintained that the fraud was perpetuated between January 2009 and June 2011.
The EFCC said the offences are punishable under Section 97, 315, 115 (ii), 119 and 309 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2007.
If convicted, the accused face 15 years in prison.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.