Court sentences man over alleged N65.5m pension fraud

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    Justice Darius Khobo of Kaduna State High Court has sentenced one Mohammed Sodangi, a pension consultant, to four months in prison for an alleged N65.5 million fraud.

    The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement on Thursday that it received a petition by a group, Movement for Better Future, which alleged massive fraud in the Kaduna State Pension Bureau.

    According to the commission, it was alleged that the then management of the bureau conspired with the consultant to steal pension fund through enrolment of ghost pensioners.

    The EFCC said the defendant was arraigned on May 15, 2015, on 13 counts bordering on impersonating and theft to the tune of N65.5 million.

    One of the count read: “That you, Mohammed Ibrahim Sodangi, being a Consultant engaged by the Kaduna State Government to undertake the Computerisation of the Kaduna State Pension payroll, sometime between August 2012 and December, 2012 at Kaduna in the Kaduna Judicial Division of the High Court of Kaduna State did take dishonestly the sum of N9,937,163.34 (Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Three Naira Thirty Four Kobo) only, property of the Kaduna State Pension Bureau without its consent by enlisting your name into the pension payroll and which said sum were paid into your Keystone Bank Plc Kaduna main branch and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 287 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State of Nigeria.”

    Sodangi pleaded “not guilty” to the charge.

    At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, informed the court that the case was slated for judgement.

    Defence counsel, A. Moyosore, urged the court to temper justice with mercy, pleading that his client was a first-time offender and has many dependants.

    The trial judge, thereafter, convicted and sentenced him to three months in prison with an option of N100,000 as fine on count one, which is an offence of impersonating.

    He was also sentenced to 48 months in prison – four months each on count two to 13 to run concurrently and to pay the sum of N100,000 on each count, cumulative of N1.2 million as restitution.

    Justice Khobo also ordered a mandatory four months in prison and that the defendant should refund the sum of over N55million by way of bank draft through the EFCC to the Kaduna State Pension Bureau.

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