N20.8bn Pension Scam: Witness denies knowledge of cheques signed after e-payment

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Julius Adebulu, an Internal Auditor with the Police Pension Office, on Friday told an FCT High Court that he was not aware of cheques and vouchers signed after the implementation of  the e-payment system by the office in September 2009.

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Adebulu was testifying in a suit filed by the EFCC against Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Veronica Onyegbula, Sani Zira and Uzoma Attang in a 20-count charge bordering on stealing and criminal breach of trust.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Adebulu told the court that in January 2009 the office of the Accountant General of the Federation passed a circular on the implementation of the e-payment system which the Police Pension office started implementing in September 2009.

He, however, added that before the implementation of the e-payment system, the office was using cheques and vouchers signed by the Director, Police Pension, and one Veronica Onyegbula, a cashier in the office.

Adebulu further told the court that he found out that the cashier was signing cheques and vouchers after the implementation of the e-payment system when he was invited by the EFCC. “My lord, I was given a statement of account of  the First Bank of Nigeria Plc by the EFCC, which covered the 303 cheques payment and when I added up the amount on the cheques it came to N14 billion.

“As an internal auditor, I did not receive any voucher to those payments,” he said.

He said that the Police Pension office made payment before verification vouchers were issued and were passed through his office, and the staff going for verification were paid electronically.

According to him, the verification takes place four times in a year and the Police Pension office spent N400 million on the exercise.

Adebulu also told the court that between 2008 and 2009, when he was not yet the head of audit, he had also approved up to four vouchers in the name of the director and Onyegbula while holding fort for his boss. The key witness also disclosed that he received some ”strange” N7 million in his account.

“My lord, I got an alert of N2 million and after some hours I got another alert of N5 million on the same day. I was surprised and immediately alerted the Director of Finance, Mr John Yakubu, about the money.

“Yakubu told me that the money was meant for people with integrity and responsible people, and also for official purpose and I questioned him which official purpose?

“Yakubu said that the money was for the Police Pension Senate Committee and the House of Representatives for verification and that they wanted the money in cash. So I told him before I will go and cash the money, he will have to produce a voucher, and he did that eventually,” he said

The presiding judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, fixed Nov. 5 for continuation of hearing.


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