By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Erstwhile Director of Pension Accounts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, Dr. Sani Teidi Shaibu, has begged the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to order his immediate release from Kuje prisons where he has been for the past four months.
Sends SOS to CJ
In a save-my-soul request he sent to the CJ through his team of lawyers led by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr. Sani Ameh and Jubril Okutekpa, Teidi, who was said to be receiving medical treatment at the intensive care unit of the prison facility after he was allegedly found unconscious in his cell, urged the CJ to probe why trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola refused to sign his bail document despite the fact that he had perfected all the conditions since July.
It will be recalled that the ex-pension director was on July 12 granted bail by the high court after he had spent thirty-nine days in detention.
The court had ordered him to deposit the sum of N500 million and produce two sureties in like sum.
Justice Ademola maintained that the sureties must be owners of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, adding that the title deeds of the property be deposited with the deputy chief registrar of the court.
In his ruling, the trial judge stressed that, “The accused persons should equally deposit their travelling documents with the court registrar and must not travel without permission of the court. If the travelling passports are already with the court, they should be transferred to the registrar of this court.”
Before adjourning hearing on the substantive case against the accused person till October 23, Justice Ademola directed that in the event that he failed to meet the bail conditions, he should be returned to prison.
However, Teidi, through his lawyers, lamented that though he had fulfilled all conditions, he said the trial judge, without adducing any reason, declined to sign his bail application.
The court had initially suspended ruling on his bail application indefinitely sequel to a previous petition the ex-pension boss wrote to the CJ.
Teidi, had in his earlier petition, alleged bias against Justice Adeniyi, saying the judge not only has personal vendetta against him, but bent on frustrating any attempt to secure his release.
Consequent upon that petition, the CJ queried the trial judge, an action that led the court to grant him bail.
Specifically, the former pension director was alleged to have connived with a former manager with the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mr. Udusegbe Omoefe Eric, and diverted about N5 billion meant for pensioners across the country.
The duo who are answering to a 22-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, breach of public trust and obtaining by false pretense, were on June 7, arraigned before the high court by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
EFCC had maintained that the accused persons used nine companies and siphoned pension funds.
It gave names of the companies accused of complicity in the pension scam as Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Ltd, Haleath Enterprises, Uthatak Nigeria Ltd, Krasiva Nig. Ltd, Badawulu Ventures Ltd, Ebunu Attah Investment, Muha Millennium Motors Ltd, Ribaile Petroleum Ltd.
EFCC had earlier revealed before the court how the accused persons used seven bureaux de change operators and stole pension funds, adding that during the investigation, one Mohammed Muhamud, owner of Muha Motors, who it said volunteered statements on 16/2/2011 and 31/5/2011, confessed that Dr. Shaibu, at various times, used his bank accounts to transfer huge sums of money to another account operated by one Chief Anthony Azewaputa, who EFCC said facilitated the purchase of “Brifina Hotel,” for the first accused person.
The agency told the court that the offence which it said ran contrary to Sections 1(1) (a), 7(1) (b) (i), 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Sections 1(3), 7(2) (b) (i) of the same law, was committed between 2009 and March 15, 2010.
More so, EFCC, alleged that the remanded pension boss, siphoned money from the pensions department and purchased plot B59 Dawaki Extension Layout in Abuja from one Stanley Obioma Iwu, with the intent to disguise the ownership of the proceeds of the illegal transaction, as well as looted monies and purchased 100 units of Lifetime 32-LCD Television, 100 units of Samsung Refrigerators, 70 units of Samsung 1.5 HP Air-Conditioners, 30 units of Samsung Split unit 1.5 HP Air Conditioners, 15 units of 3HP Package unit Air-Conditioners from Iwu, Chikwado Ezenwoye and Essential Gadgets Ventures.