A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of seven persons accused of complicity in the billion naira Police Pension fraud, Mustapha Sani Gadanya, today, March 11, 2014 told Justice Hussein Baba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court how 400 cheques were cashed in a day by the accused persons. “Over 400 cheques were withdrawn and we got this information from the bank statement furnished us by First Bank Plc,” Mustapha said.
Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Gadanya told the court that he obtained and analyzed the certified true copy of instruments used in making withdrawals in the name of Veronica Onyegbula and the Directors of Police Pension office – Esai Dangaba, Atiku Kigo Abubakar and Inuwa Wada. “We discovered that the three directors are all signatories to the fraudulent cheques. We also discovered that Mrs Uzoma Cyril Attang, John Yusuf, Gabriel Ikpe, Mike Okoro and one Mrs Amu (currently at large), are among those who signed the cheques”. Gadanya said.
Gadanya further told the court that the directors carried out the cheque transactions without any letter of exemption from compliance with the e-payment circular from the office of the Accountant General.
On further analysis of the bank statements, he said, “we discovered that between August 2007 and December 2007, over 4billion was withdrawn; between January and December 2008 over 5billion was withdrawn; between January and December 2009 over 8 billion was withdrawn and between January and December 2010 over 3 billion was withdrawn”, Gadanya told the court.
Perhaps shocked by the staggering amount, Justice Baba sought to know from the witness what currency was involved to which the witness responded: “Naira my Lord”.
Gadanya then went on to state that between 31st January, 2011 and 6th May, 2011 over N1billion was withdrawn and that the sum of N650 million was withdrawn on 31stJanuary, 2011.
Gadanya also told the court that between February and May 2011 when Inuwa Wada was the director of the police pension office, he withdrew about N850million, while over N4 billion was withdrawn between December 2009 and January, 2011 when Atiku Kigo Abubakar was the director of the police pension office.
Also over N14 billion was withdrawn during Esai Dangabar’s tenure from January 2008 to November 2009, bringing the total amount siphoned from the police pension account to N20 billion in flagrant violation of extant financial regulations.
However, attempt by the prosecution to tender two documents – the analysis of the cheques and the certificate of identification- was opposed by the defence counsel.
Justice Baba adjourned proceedings to March 12, for ruling on the defendants’ objection and continuation of trial.