Right of Reply
â€ŽFormer Head of Legal, Rural Electrification Agencyâ€Ž, Kayode Oyedeji contends that the cases of Yakubu Yusuf who was convicted for stealing pension funds and that of former directors of the agency are not the same One of the major objectives of any reportage is to educate members of the public. However, the information dished out to the public must be based on truth and accuracy. It is regrettable that you compared the case involving the convicted â€œpension thiefâ€ (Yakubu Yusuf) with the case involving the former Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency and other directors of the Agency.
It is also disturbing that you tried to cast aspersion on the learned trial judge by stating that â€œwhether deliberately or otherwise, the same mistake that Justice Talba made in 2013 was also repeated recently when Justice Adebukola Banjoko also of the same court delivered a similar judgment when she convicted a former Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, Samuel Ibi Gekpeâ€.
For the avoidance of doubt and for record purposes, it must be stated that the case of the â€œconvicted pension thiefâ€ is different from Rural Electrification Agencyâ€™s case. They are never similar and can never be. First, there was evidence before the court that one naira was not missing or stolen by any of the accused persons in Rural Electrification case.
Second, there was evidence before the trial court that all the rural electrification projects were executed and completed by all the contractors. Third, there was evidence that the accused persons secured the 15% and 85% payments to the contractors with advance payments guarantee certificates (APGs) obtained from Banks.
Fourth, there was evidence that the Federal Government did not lose one naira. Fifth, there was evidence that none of the accused persons benefitted from the contracts. The major complaint of the prosecution in Rural Electrification case was that the mode of the award of the contract was contrary to laid down procedure.
The court believed the evidence of the prosecution that the accused persons ought to have employed competitive bidding process (which includes advertisements etc) and rejected the arguments of the accused persons that they employed different method because of time constraints as the Amended 2008 Budget was passed on 16th November 2008 and there may not be enough time to advertise and engage in competitive bidding process before 31st December 2008. Finally, it is very wrong to cast aspersions on judges because they cannot talk in public considering the nature of their work.
Oyedeji was former Head (Legal) Rural Electrification Agency