The judge who presided over the pension scam trial and gave light sentence to one of the accused persons, has been suspended for one year without pay by the National Judicial Council (NJC). JusticeAbubakar Talba of the FCT High Court imposed a mere N750,000 to convicted felon, John Yakubu Yusuf, who stole billions of pension fund.
“The National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, at its meeting which was held on 24th and 25th April, 2013 suspended Honourable Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the FCT High Court from office for a period of 12 months without pay.Honourable Justice Talba was suspended from office sequel to the findings by council that he did not exercise his discretion judicially and judiciously with regard to the sentences he passed on one of the accused persons, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf, in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Ors.
“It is recalled that the National Judicial Council at its emergency meeting which was held on 20th February, 2013 set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the allegations levelled against Honourable Justice Talba in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Ors.
“The council however, observed that the charges that had been brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Mr. John Y. Yusuf in the first charge sheet containing counts 1 to 10 under Section 315 of the Penal Code that provides a maximum jail term of 14 years and fine, were dropped by the EFCC counsel and substituted with another charge sheet with only three counts under Section 309 of the Penal Code that moulds a lesser punishment of two years imprisonment with or without option of fine.
“The National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, also issues serious warning to Honourable Justice Talba to desist from unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion in all matters brought before him.