…demand stiffer punishment for Yusuf, others
BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA — IRKED by public condemnation of the judgment on Mr John Yakubu Yusuf and others undergoing trial for the over N38 billion Police Pension scam at the FCT High Court, Abuja, the House of Representatives, Wednesday, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, to review the ruling.
The House declared that the monumental fraud in the Police Pension Fund had resulted in untold hardship for police pensioners who had their pensions unpaid for many months.
Members of the House in adopting a motion on the urgent need to revisit the case brought by House Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, and nine others, also called on the National Assembly to review provisions of the penal and criminal codes to provide stricter punishment for such matters.
“The EFCC and AGF should appeal the judgement of Justice Abubakar Talba of the FCT High Court in the case of the State Vs Mr John Yusuf and others, with a view to seeking stricter punishment for the offence under Section 309, of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, 2007,” it said.
Osagie, who led the debate, faulted the decision of FCT High Court and urged the parliament to intervene, adding that pension was a matter that ought to be treated with utmost respect.
“As the peoples’ representatives, we cannot keep quiet over the matter. This is not good for our criminal justice system, especially as it bothers on the fight against corruption.
“It is repugnant and unacceptable to good conscience. Stiffer punishment should be meted out else others will tow the same line. It is not good for our democracy.
“This sort of judgement of a court can only serve as an incentive for public officers entrusted with management of public fund to commit more acts of corruption as the judgement in this case did not meet the justice of the matter, given the huge amount of fraud committed by Mr John Yusuf in the Police Pension Fund.
“This judgement which has been widely criticised by both lawyers and civil society groups, has been a slap on the wrist as the sentence ought to be stricter to deter other public officers from meddling with public funds,” the lawmaker said.