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Judge Gets 1Yr Suspension Without Pay Over Ridiculous Jail Term For Pension Thief


SAN FRANCISCO, April 26, (THEWILL) - The National Judicial Council (NJC) after a meeting in Abuja has suspended Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the Abuja High Court from office for a period of one year without pay for not exercising his “discretion judicially and judiciously” with regard to the sentence he passed on a former director of the Police Pension fund, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf, following his conviction for stealing over a billion naira from the fund.

The full text of the statement from the NJC’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, announcing the council’s decision reads:

“The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, GCON, at its Meeting which was held on 24th and 25th April, 2013 suspended Hon. Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the FCT High Court from office for a period of twelve months without pay.

Hon. Justice Talba was suspended from office sequel to the Findings by Council that he did not exercise his discretion judicially and judiciously with regard to the sentences he passed on one of the accused persons, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Ors.

It would be recalled that the National Judicial Council at its Emergency Meeting, which was held on 20th February, 2013 set up a Fact Finding Committee to investigate the allegations levelled against Hon. Justice Talba in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Ors.

The Council however, observed that the Charges that had been brought by EFCC against Mr. John Y. Yusuf in the First Charge Sheet containing Counts 1 to 10 under Section 315 of the Penal Code that provides a maximum jail term of 14 years and fine, were dropped by the EFCC Counsel and substituted with another Charge Sheet with only three Counts under Section 309 of the Penal Code that moulds a lesser punishment of two years imprisonment with or without option of fine.

The National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, also issued serious warning to Hon. Justice Talba to desist from unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion in all matters brought before him.

On the various Petitions written against Hon. Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court who is to retire from service on 18th May, 2013, the Council considered his responses and decided to seriously warn him.”