The former Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) in Nigeria, Stephen Oronsaye has been cleared of the N2 billion fraud charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court ruled on Monday that the prosecution had failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify a conviction.
Oronsaye was first arraigned in 2015, along with Mr Osarenkhoe Afe, the Managing Director of Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited.
The duo faced 49 charges related to fraud. After the anti-graft Commission separated parts of the case concerning Abdulrasheed Maina, the former head of the Presidential Pension Task Force who was then at large, the charges were amended.
Maina was later prosecuted separately by the EFCC, leading to his conviction and eight-year prison sentence in November 2021.
Oronsaye was also charged alongside three companies – Cluster Logistic Limited; Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited, and Drew Investment & Construction Company Limited.
The EFCC alleged that between 2010 and 2011, the defendants used these companies to illicitly divert public funds through procurement fraud.
The Commission accused Oronsaye and his co-defendants of inflating biometric enrollment contracts, collective allowances, and other schemes to siphon money from accounts containing pensioners’ funds.
A report from the Auditor-General of the Federation on the federal government’s pension accounts, which implicated Oronsaye and others, was also presented by the commission.