There is inevitably something comic about this political enterprise of ours, something decidedly beyond reason. Does it not seem the people are falsely imprisoned, though it appears it can only happen here, N23.3billion stolen admittedly by one Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf, a former Assistant Director in the Police Pension Office, in inordinate vanity and a dreadful humiliation of the country’s national character in another classic now known as the Police Pension Scam, and after months of back and forth, he gets two years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 fine only.
What does the country get? Nothing, but a disgraceful applause. What do the people get? Shock, perhaps mild disbelief, pain and destroyed hopes. Can I ask, did our government not spend more than N750,000 to prosecute that man? Maybe am just wondering. Gleefully, the matter is reported as plea bargain, and even though am a lawyer, being familiar with that word, yet my mind begins to extrapolate the things of the deep, and somehow this epiphany that can only be occasioned by logic leads me to perhaps what plea bargain indeed means here; another word for the arrest of justice and its subsequent trial on the altar of bargain, and by the time bargain is closed, the highest bidder is throwing a party. Sounds to me more like justice auctioned to the highest bidder.
I thought there is something referred to as the Mischief rule in the Canons of Interpretation, a rule which I suspect solemnly calls on today’s actors in the theatre of law and justice to reach out to the original intention of the Parliament, to help them unearth the mind of the then makers of the Law, to order their steps in doing justice. In the same vein, I would suppose that the makers of our criminal cum penal sanctions must have had the likes of Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf in mind while drafting our laws, but was it the intention of those same lawmakers that a man guilty of stealing N23.3billion be handed a two year sentence that can simply be exchanged for a paltry sum of N750, 000? Certainly, I think not.
By Olusola Adegbite,