Updated: February 28, 2021
A Nigerian mega thief who was given the option of paying 750 thousand naira (2000 dollars) fine or spend two years in prison for stealing over 32 billion naira (89 million dollars) five years ago has been somehow properly sentenced.
A Nigerian Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday jailed John Yakubu Yusuf six years and asked him to refund 22.9 billion naira. That is almost 64 million dollars of the 89 million dollars he was accused of stealing.
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The previous judgment by Justice Abubakar Talba, who sentenced him to two years in jail with the option of paying a fine of N750,000 triggered national outrage and continental condemnation.
Why it matters: Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries on earth. Billions disappear, millions of dollars are swallowed by snakes or buried in private residences without anyone held accountable. Most Nigerian politicians who come to power broke, leave office multi-billionaires with no questions asked. When they are taken to court, they are often found not guilty on all charges after bribing the corrupt judges or their proxies. This all happens even as 100 million Nigerians are said to live on less than a United States dollar a day, sleep in dark houses without electricity, and drive on pothole-filled insecure roads too dangerous to venture out at night.
The News Agency of Nigeria said “John Yusuf, the pension thief who five years ago, was given a slap on the wrist by Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, for stealing N32.8billion police pension money, has finally gotten his deserved sanctions”.
The ruling by the appellate court was the climax of the appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which on April 26, 2013 approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the lower court.