By Soni Daniel
Abuja—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arraigned four persons before Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal High Court, Gudu, Abuja, on a 29-count charge bordering on conspiracy, and collecting by false pretense.
The four accused persons- Ibrahim Ahmed Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Sulaiman, Hajia Fatima Mazangari and Saleh Yerima Tsojon, are alleged to have obtained N1.2 billion from the Federal Government by false pretense and with intent to defraud, purporting same to be monthly pension payable to M. S. Suleiman, Saleh Yerima Tsojon, Isah U. Adamu, Daniel Mikano, and Abdulahi Garba Musa who were falsely held out as pensioners of the Federal Government, by inserting their names in the pensioners’ payroll.
The accused persons, who were offered a bio-metric contract by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, to regularize names of pensioners on the pensions’ payroll, allegedly smuggled in names of fake pensioners, and collected unearned pension.
The fraud allegedly involved two companies – Xangee Technologies Limited and Century Construction Company Limited.
Justice Talba had at the sitting of June 30, 2015 rejected a plea bargain proposal mooted by Ibrahim Salau, counsel to Mazangari, before adjourning to September 15, 2015 as a result of the absence of Fatimah Mazangari, the third accused person, who according to Salau was ill.
“Don’t mention plea bargain here. I don’t want to hear about it”, the judge had declared.
At the resumed sitting yesterday,all the accused persons were present in court to take their plea.
One of the charges reads: “That you Ibrahim Ahmed Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Suleiman and Xangee Technologies Limited between 28th April, 2011 and 24th November 2011, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, obtained an aggregate sum of N1,072,873.74 from the Federal Government.”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.