By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The Supreme Court on Thursday demanded from the law firm of Rotimi Jacobs and Co the fiat issued to it by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to prosecuted John Yakubu Yusufu, who was convicted for diverting N24billion.
Yusufu, a former Deputy Director in the Federal Civil Service Pension Office, who is serving his six-year sentence, appealed to the Supreme Court to have the 2018 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja set aside.
At the mention of the case on Thursday, Theodore Maiyaki announced an appearance for the appellant.
When Oluwaleke Atolagbe (from the firm of Rotimi Jacobs & Co) announced appearance for the respondent (the Federal Republic of Nigeria), a member of the court’s five-justices panel, Justice Centus Nweze sought to know if he (Atolagbe) was from the office of the Attorney General of te Federation (AGF).
Atolagbe said he is a private lawyer from, whose firm was instructed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute the case from the trial court.
Justice Nweze insisted that Atolagbe must present the fiat issued is firm by the AGF before further steps could be taken in the case.
When asked by the head of the panel, Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad, if he has the fiat with him in court, Atolagbe said no, but that a letter from the EFCC, authorising his firm to prosecute the case, was in the office.
In a ruling, Justice Muhammad said, although the court sympathised with the appellant (who Maiyaki said was currently in a correctional facility), further proceedings in te case would be suspended pending when the respondent produces the fiat issue on which basis it prosecuted the case.
Justice Muhammad then adjourned January 27, 2022 at the instance of the respondent.
Justice Abubakar Talba of the High Court of the Feral Capital Territory (FCT) had, in a judgment on January 28, 2013 convicted Yusufu on a three-count charge to which he pleaded guilty following a plea bargain agreement with the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Talba had sentenced him to two years imprisonment on each count, with the option of N250,000 for each count, a decision the EFCC appealed.
In its judgment on March 21, 2018 the Appeal Court reversed the judgment of the High Court of the FCT and sentenced Yusufu to a cumulative six years imprisonment.
The appellate court then ordered to refund N22.9 billion to Federal Government’s coffers, a decision e appealed to the Supreme Court.
Although the Appeal Court’s judgment was given in 2018, Yusufu remained a free man until June 2020 when the EFCC arrest announced that its operatives arrested him in Gombe State.
He was later taken before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the High Court of the FCT, who on June 22, 2020 ordered him to be sent to prison to serve his sentence.