Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja yesterday rejected a plea bargain proposal mooted by persons accused of complicity in stealing pension funds amounting to N36billion.
Ibrahim Ahmed Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Suleiman, Hajiya Fatima Mazangari, Saleh Yerima Tsojon and Xangee Technologies Limited were to be arraigned by the EFCC on a 29-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining by false pretence, but the arraignment could not proceed owing to the absence of the third accused, Fatimah Mazangari, whose counsel, Ibrahim Salau, claimed was very sick.
He consequently pleaded for a short adjournment to allow his client recover and be present in court to take her plea.
But before the court adjourned proceedings to September 15, 2015, Salau (representing the first and fifth accused) informed the court that his clients had opened plea bargain discussion with the prosecution; but without wasting time, Justice Talba forbade him from broaching the subject of plea bargain in his court.
“Don’t mention plea bargain here. I don’t want to hear about it,” the judge declared.
The accused persons, who were offered a biometric contract by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, to regularise names of pensioners on the pensioners payroll, allegedly smuggled in names of fake pensioners and collected unearned pension.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Ibrahim Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Suleiman, Hajiya Fatimah Mazangari, Saleh Yerima Tsojon and Xangee Technologies Limited between 2010 and 2011 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: obtaining the sum of N1,200,000,000 (one billion, two hundred million naira) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by false pretence and with intent to defraud, purporting same to be monthly pension payable to M, S. Suleiman, Saleh Yerima, Tsojon, Isah U. Adamu, Daniel Mikano, Abdulahi Garba Musa whom you falsely held out at pensioners of the Federal Government by inserting their names in the pensioners’ payroll and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

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