Supreme Court affirms six years jail term, N22.9bn fine for pension thief, John Yakubu

Written by on April 13, 2022

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, upheld a sentence of six years jail term with N22.9 billion fine for an official, John Yusufu Yakubu, who stole N25 billion in police pension fund. A five-member panel of the court unanimously affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which imposed the sentence in 2018.

Agreeing with the N22.9 billion fine added to six years jail term, Tijjani Abubakar, who read the Supreme Court’s lead judgement, said it was in tandem with the gravity of the offence and its impact on retired police officers who are the victims of the crime. “It must be made clear that victims are entitled to be compensated,” Mr Abubakar said, adding, “I fully endorse the judgement of the lower court”. He described the January 2013 decision of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, which initially sentenced the pension thief to two years’ imprisonment with an option of N750,000 as a mere slap on the wrist. Mr Abubakar said the sentence imposed by the High Court was paltry and insignificant “Considering the humongous amount stolen, the nature and gravity of the crime and its destructive effect on the country and its impact on retired police officers and the grave breach of public trust, a severe sentence that would deter the further commission of such a crime and prevent the convict from retaining any part of what he stole to avoid him obtaining financial benefit from his crime should be imposed,” Mr Abubakar said, echoing the words of the Court of Appeal on the case. Other members of the five-member panel led by Helen Ogunwumiju agreed with the lead judgement. Others on the panel were Musa Dattijo Muhammad, Centus Nweze, and Adamu Jauro. Mr Abubakar read the concurring decisions of the other four members who were all absent from the proceedings on Wednesday. Another Justice of the Supreme Court, Emmanuel Agim, who was the judge that prepared the Court of Appeal’s lead decision in 2018, was seated beside Mr Abubakar. Mr Agim was not part of the Supreme Court’s panel that decided Yakubu’s case, but was only present to read other judgements in other appeals he was involved in.

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