From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A former Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Mr Stephen Oronsaye, has been discharged and acquitted of the N2 billion fraud charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court in his judgment on Monday held that the prosecution failed to provide enough evidence to warrant a conviction.
The case began in 2015 with the arraignment of Oronsaye alongside the Managing Director of Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Mr Osarenkhoe Afe.
They were docked on 49 count charges bordering on fraud. But the charges were later amended after the anti-graft Commission separated the parts involving a former head of the Presidential Pension Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was then at large.
Maina was later charged separately by the EFCC and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment in November 2021.
Equally charged alongside Oronsaye by the EFCC were three companies – Cluster Logistic Limited; Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited, and Drew Investment & Construction Company Limited.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants had between 2010 and 2011, used the firms to divert public funds through procurement fraud.
The EFCC equally accused Orosanye and the others of using inflated biometrics enrolment contracts, collective allowances and other schemes to siphon money from accounts containing pensioners’ funds.
The commission also tendered a report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the federal government’s pension accounts which indicted Oronsaye and others of wrongdoing.