Supreme Court sentences PHCN guard to death for murder

Ikechukwu Nnochiri

26 March 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA- THE Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence passed on a security guard with Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Mr. Stephen Haruna, for killing Miss Sussana Igwe, PHCN’s Assistant General Manager, Legal Department.

An Abuja High Court and the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had earlier sentenced and upheld the death of the guard said to have been attached to the deceased as a security aide.

According to the prosecution, Haruna murdered her boss, took her monies and deposited it in the bank account of his girlfriend, one Mary Jimoh.

A four-man panel of justices of the apex court led by Justice Suleiman Galadima, while affirming the death sentence, said that there was overwhelming evidence that established the culpability of Haruna to the alleged crime.

According to Justice Galadima, who read the lead judgment, “In the face of overwhelming evidence against the appellant, I cannot upturn the concurrent findings of the trial court and the court below (Court of Appeal) when the appellant has failed to demonstrate that the said concurrent findings were perverse and could not be supported having regard to the evidence adduced by the Prosecutor.”

The apex court noted that Haruna’s girlfriend, Mary Jimoh also testified to the fact that the money he (Haruna) stole from Igwe was deposited in her account.

Although, the convict made three confessional statements to the police in the course of the investigation, he later retracted one of the statements, denying complicity in the gruesome murder of his boss.

Justice Galadima held that even if the third statement was discountenanced, Haruna could still be and was rightly convicted by the lower courts.

He stressed that the appellant’s confessional statement was further accentuated by the discovery of stolen money he took to his girlfriend at Kubwa, suburb of Abuja city to keep for him.

“It was on the strength of the confessional statement that the police went to Kubwa where the money was discovered. Also the testimonies of the driver, the PHCN’s Senior Security Officers and the forensic reports corroborated the Appellant’s confessional statement”, the court held.

Haruna had gone to the apex court with a view to set aside the death sentence that was handed to him by both the trial and the appellate court, a request that was accordingly declined by the Supreme Court

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