Shot of the accused, Papa Haziel
Justice Musa Sale Shuaibu of the Federal High Court, Yola, Adamawa state has sentenced Papa Haziel, 22, to 12 months imprisonment for fraudulently obtaining the sum of One Million, Two Hundred and Twenty Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixteen Naira, fifty Six kobo (N1, 222,316:56) from Military Pension Board under false pretence.
Haziel, who was arraigned on a two count charge, was sentenced without an option of fine. The sentence is however to run consecutively.
The accused, who is a bricklayer, was alleged to have claimed to be the son of a retired military officer, Mr. Vatau Haziel, and forged documents with which he had been drawing money from the Military Pension. During a verification exercise, Papa presented Vatau as a retiree.
When the lid was blown and Vatau was interrogated, he confessed that he was being used for the scam, but Papa insisted that his father was sick and behaves abnormally and therefore should not be taken seriously.
The two, Papa and Vatau Haziel, were arrested but later released on bail; Papa was to thereafter claim that his father had died as he presented a document which he claimed was the certificate of cause of death of Mr. Vatau Haziel, this was later discovered to be another forgery.
Prosecution counsel, barrister Abubakar Aliyu, in the course of the trial, tendered the forged death certificate, bank statement and instrument purported to have been used to withdraw money, a letter from Military Pension Board and the reply, EFCC letter to the MD Union bank and the reply as exhibits.
The accused person pleaded guilty when the charges were read to him, blaming the offence on the economic situation of the country, a development which necessitated Justice Shuaibu to convict him as he said it will serve as deterrent to others.
The judge admonished that it is not an excuse to steal to feed a family, saying such is a dangerous act that does not auger well for the developmental process of the country. Justice Shuaibu observed that the accused person has no evidence of adverse previous record and had shown evidence of repentance, thus the need for a lenient sentence. He however, warned that if found wanting again after serving his term, he would incur the full wrath of justice.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
29th June, 2012.