The Supreme Court Retains John Yakubu’s Six-year Prison Sentence For N24b Police Pension Theft

Date:

Fraudulent practices are not tolerated by the law, whether in Nigeria or abroad. 

The Supreme Court has affirmed the six-year jail term handed to a former Assistant Director in the Federal Civil Service, John Yusufu Yakubu.

The erstwhile civil servant was convicted for his complicity in the conversion of about N24 billion from the Police Pension Fund.

On May 22, 2018, the Court of Appeal in Abuja overturned an earlier decision of Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, which had convicted him on a three-count charge and given him the choice of punishment of N250,000 per count.

In a 2018 decision, the Court of Appeal condemned Yakubu to two years in prison for each count, to be served consecutively without the possibility of a fine, and ordered him to repay N22.9 billion.

In a judgment issued Wednesday, a five-member Supreme Court bench led by Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed confirmed the Court of Appeal’s verdict from 2018.

Justice Tijani Abubakar wrote in the lead judgment: “It will appear that considering the offence for which the appellant was convicted by the trial court, the appellant merely got a slap on the wrist with the imposition of a meagre, paltry, insignificant, ridiculous and laughable sum of N750,000 as fine in lieu of imprisonment in respect of three counts for which the appellant was convicted.

“I share the same views with the lower court that in view of the sum misappropriated by the appellant and his clear and express plea of guilt, the nature and gravity of the crime, its destructive effect on the country and its negative impact on the beneficiaries of the funds, who are retired police officers, and the grave breach of public trust, a severe sentence ought to have been imposed to deter other people from such heinous crime. 

“The decision of the lower court to interfere with the ridiculous, bizarre and outrageous sentence imposed by the trial court on the appellant cannot be faulted.

“I wholly endorse it and order the parties in this appeal to queue behind the decision as the decision is sound and revolutionary, and a note of counsel to potential criminals that it is no longer business as usual.” 

The other members of the panel, Justices Mohammed, Centus Nweze, Helen Ogunwumiju, and Adamu Jauro, agreed with the main judgment.

Despite the fact that Yakubu was sentenced to prison by the Court of Appeal in 2018, the prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said it would not be able to apprehend him until 2020.

Yakubu has remained in prison since his arrest in 2020, according to the EFCC.

Well, my advice is to stay away from criminal activity. 

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