The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned five senior officials of the Sokoto State Primary Education Staff Pension Board at the State High Court for alleged misappropriation of N553.9million.
The suspects, according to a statement sent to Ripples Nigeria by EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, were arraigned on a 27-count charge of conspiracy, forgery, criminal breach of trust, and misappropriation before Justice Mohammad Mohammad.
The defendants were the Board’s Director of Finance and Supply, Hassana Moyi; Secretary, Abubakar Aliyu; Deputy Director, Halliru Ahmed; Accountant, Kabiru Ahmed and the Cashier, Dahiru Muhammad Isa.
Uwujaren said: “The defendants’ trouble began sometime in 2019 when the commission received complaints from several primary school pensioners, alleging that since retirement from service, they had yet to be paid their gratuities.
“During investigations, one of them was shown a payment voucher allegedly used to pay his gratuity in the sum of N1,484,012.39, bearing his name and a signature. But he denied receiving the money, and also disowned the signature on the voucher.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, S. H Sa’ad, urged the court to fix a trial date and order an accelerated hearing of the matter.
But defence counsel, A. Y Abubakar made an oral application for his clients’ bail.
Justice Muhammad granted the defendants bail in the sum of N55 million each and one surety in like sum.
The judge said the surety must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction and possess landed property.
He adjourned the case till July 26 for hearing.