Police Pension Scam: Court fixes Feb. 26 for cross-examination of witness

An FCT High Court on Friday fixed Feb. 26 for the continuation of the cross-examination of EFCC witness, Julius Adebulu, an Internal Auditor with the Police Pension Office.

Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf fixed the date after Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), counsel to Atiku Abubakar Kigo, sought an adjournment.

EFCC arraigned Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Veronica Onyegbula, Sani Zira and Uzoma Attang on a 20-count charge, which includes stealing and criminal breach of trust.

Earlier, counsel to EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed an attempt by Awomolo to cross-examine his witness over a document.

The document was a payment voucher, which the EFCC witness claimed did not emanate from his office.

At the last sitting of the court, the witness told the court that he was not aware of cheques and vouchers signed after the implementation of the e-payment system by Police Pension Office in September 2009.

Adebulu then told the court that in January 2009, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation circulated a circular on the implementation of the e-payment system, which the Police Pension Office started implementing in September 2009.

He, however, said that prior to the implementation of the e-payment system, the office was using cheques and vouchers signed by the Director, Police Pension, and Veronica Onyegbula, a cashier in the office.

Adebulu further told the court that he found out that the cashier was still signing cheques and vouchers after the onset of the implementation of the e-payment system.

“My lord, I was given a statement of account of the First Bank of Nigeria Plc. by the EFCC, which covered the 303 cheques payment and when I added up the amount on the cheques; it came to N14 billion.

“As an internal auditor, I did not receive any voucher for those payments,’’ he said.

He said that the verification exercise took place four times in a year, while the Police Pension Office had spent N400 million on the exercise.

Adebulu also told the court that between 2008 and 2009 when he was not the head of the audit section, he approved up to four vouchers in the name of the director and Onyegbula, while standing in for his boss.

The witness also disclosed that he received a “strange’’ N7 million in his account.

“My lord, I got an alert of N2 million and after some hours, I got another alert of N5 million on the same day. I was surprised and immediately alerted the Director of Finance, Mr John Yakubu, about the money.

“Yakubu told me that the money was meant for responsible people of integrity and also for official purpose and I questioned him as to the type of `official purpose’.

“Yakubu said that the money was for the Police Pension Senate Committee and the House of Representatives for verification and that they wanted the money in cash.

“ So, I insisted on seeing a voucher before I could go and cash the money; and he did eventually produce the voucher,’’ he said.

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