The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today April 10, 2013 arraigned one Mrs. Uzoma Cyril Attang, a major suspect in the Police Pension scam before Justice Husseine Baba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja. Mrs. Uzoma a former chief accountant in the Police Pension Office is standing trial for theft and abuse of office.
Also re-arraigned were six other accused persons: Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira, and Christian Madubuke. The accused persons took their plea on an amended 20-count charge that borders criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria 2007.
Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had sought the leave of the court for the amended charge to be read to the accused persons stating that the matter was transferred to the present court and that the 8th accused person, John Yakubu Yusuf, had been convicted. Justice Husseini granted his request and ordered that the charge be read to them.
One of the charge reads; “That you Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Mrs Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira, Mrs. Uzoma Cyril Attang and Christian Madubuke between January 2008 and June 2011 at Abuja Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital territory, being public officers in the service of the Government of the Federation and in such capacity entrusted with certain property, to wit: the sum of N20, 154, 728, 660. 18 (Twenty Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Four Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Naira and Eighteen Kobo) which sum formed part of the Nigeria Police Pension funds in the account domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria Plc, committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property, and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal code Act Cap. 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria 2007.”
However, all the seven persons pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Jacobs then asked the court for a trial date in view of the plea by the accused persons. However, Patrick T. Akan, counsel to Mrs. Attang who was arraigned for the first time asked the court to grant his client bail. Justice Baba granted bail to Mrs. Attang on the same bail terms as the other six accused persons. He also ordered that the other six accused persons who were re-arraigned continue to enjoy the terms of the bail granted them by Justice Mohammed Talba.
Justice Talba had granted them bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum, one of whom must not be less than an officer on grade level 14. The sureties, the judge also said, must live within the jurisdiction of the court. The sureties must however depose to affidavit of means which must be verified by the EFCC. The accused persons are also to deposit their national passports before the court.
Justice Baba adjourned proceedings to June 3 and 4, 2013 for trial of the accused persons.