By Soni Daniel
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have re-arrested a former Assistant Director in the Federal Civil Service, John Yakubu Yusuf, who has been on the run since 2018 after the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, sentenced him to six years imprisonment and a fine of N22.9 billion, for conniving with five other suspects to steal N32.8 billion Police Pension Fund. Based on his re-arrest, Justice Baba Yusuf of the FCT High Court on Monday, June 22, 2020, issued a remand order that will enable him to serve his six years jail term in Kuje Correctional Service, Abuja.
Yusuf is one of the six federal civil servants facing prosecution for allegedly stealing N32.8billion Police Pension Fund. He was initially convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N750, 000 (Seven Hundred Thousand Naira only) by a Federal Capital Territory High Court presided over by Justice Abubakar Talba, in a plea-bargain arrangement. The conviction, considered to be a slap on the wrist, sparked national and international outrage.
The EFCC, dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment. Ruling on the substantive matter, the Justices of the Court of Appeal held unanimously that the three counts involving Yusuf (Counts 17, 18, and 19) clearly stated the amounts he converted for his personal use. He pleaded guilty to the three counts and thereby admitted to the conversion of an aggregate sum of about N24 billion to his personal use.
The court stressed that the sentence of the trial court did not serve as deterrence to both the convict and others. Consequently, the justices ruled that the sentence is “hereby quashed and deserves to be reviewed as follows: on Counts 17, the Respondent is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment with an addition of fine of N20 billion Naira; on Counts 18, the Respondent is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment with an addition of fine of N1.4 billion Naira; on counts 19, the Respondent is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment with an addition of fine of 1.5 billion Naira.
The sentence of imprisonment is to run consecutively and the fine is to be cumulative.”