EFCC Arraigns Aliyu Bello, Abdullahi Omeiza For N1 billion Pension Scam
SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Tuesday arraigned Aliyu Bello, a former Special Assistant to the Director of Administration (Pension account) at the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and Abdullahi Omeiza, a school teacher at Sokoto alongside their companies, Fafama Estate Developers and Fafama Oil and Gas Limited before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 5-count charge bordering on criminal conversion and obtaining over One Billion naira (N1billion) by false pretence.
The accused persons, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, are among nine civil servants who allegedly conspired and used “third parties” to siphon monies meant for pensioners across the country. Omeiza who is an associate of Aliyu is alleged to have used more than 12 accounts bearing fictitious names to collect pension arrears and gratuity from the OHCSF.
One of the charges read: “that you Aliyu Bello and Abdullahi Omeiza, at various times between 2009 and 2010 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, obtain by false pretence and with intent to defraud, from pension account, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, various sums in the aggregate amount of 281,623,351.87 (two hundred and eighty one million, six hundred and twenty three thousand, three hundred and fifty one naira, eighty seven kobo) through various third parties and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) (A) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act”.
Based on the plea of the accused persons, counsel to EFCC, Emmanuel Eguagwu asked the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.
However, counsel to the accused, Okey Onyianta prayed the court to admit the accused persons to bail on the grounds that they have been on administrative bail and had been reporting to the EFCC whenever they were needed.
However, Justice Ademola insisted on a formal bail application in line with the procedure of court. He subsequently remanded the accused in prison custody and adjourned proceedings to July 1, 2, and 3, 2013 for hearing on bail application and continuation of trial.