Justice D. Z. Senchi of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Jabi, Abuja on Thursday, November 9, 2017 ordered the remand of four suspected military pension fraudsters in Kuje prison over their alleged complicity in stealing military pension funds to the tune of N339million.
The suspects: Wing Commander Ishaka Yakubu, Lieutenant Commander Akinbamidele Odunsi, Abidemi Aderemi Kolade and Violet Ofoegbunam were alleged to have conspired to collect monies meant for payment of death benefits to deceased army officers, and converted same to personal use.
The offence breaches Section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 LFN (Abuja) 1990, and punishable under the same Act.
The suspects were arraigned on Thursday by the EFCC, on a 6-count charge of conspiracy and stealing of pension funds. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of their plea, counsel to the EFCC, Steve Odiase, asked the court to fix a date for hearing and to remand the accused persons in custody pending trial.
Odiase invited the court to take note of the fact that, Yakubu and Odunsi (1st and 2nd defendants) had on several dates refused to come to court, “an attempt aimed at frustrating efforts to have them arraigned over the alleged offence”.
He urged the court to impose stringent conditions should it be persuaded to admitting the defendants to bail.
However, Yakubu’s counsel, Patrick Ediale, informed the court of a pending application dated November 2, 2017, praying the court to admit his client to bail.
He urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendant saying, “he is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved”.
Other counsel in the defence also joined in seeking bail for their clients.
Justice Senchi, while ordering the remand of the defendants adjourned to November 13, for hearing of their bail applications.