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Court rejects plea bargain in N1.2b pension scam


courtJUSTICE Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, Abuja, yesterday, rejected the idea of plea bargain in a N1.2 billion pension scam case involving four persons being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC). The judge warned counsel to the accused persons not to broach the idea of plea bargain in his court.

The accused persons; Ibrahim Ahmed Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Sulaiman, Hajia Fatima Mazangari and Saleh Yerima Tsojon- are being prosecuted by the EFCC, on a 29-count charge bordering on conspiracy and collecting by false pretense.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the accused were offered a biometric contract by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, to regularize names of pensioners on the pensions’ payroll, but allegedly smuggled in names of fake pensioners and collected un-earned pension.

Counsel to the first and fifth accused persons, Sale Sule, had informed the court that his clients had opened a plea bargain discussion with the prosecution.

However, Justice Talba forbade him from broaching the subject in his court, saying, “Don’t mention plea bargain here. I don’t want to hear about it.’’

At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to the second accused person, Haruna Eze, pleaded that the case be stood down, as the lead counsel, Sule, had not yet arrived the court before the proceedings started.
Also, counsel to the third accused person wrote a letter to the court, saying he was ill.

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