Posted by From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna on
JUSTICE Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court, Kaduna, yesterday discharged and acquitted the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.....
JUSTICE Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court, Kaduna, yesterday discharged and acquitted the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Hadjia Aisha Ibrahim Abubakar and Lamido Yusuff Zaria, (Director of Finance and Supplies) in a suit of misappropriation of N32 million brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Liman, who delivered a one-hour judgment, stated that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against beyond reasonable doubt and subsequently discharge the defendants.
The Judge pointed out: "The evidence before me have fallen short to prove the charges and conviction of the accused persons. The failure to prove count two for a conviction is natural for count one not to stand, and accordingly, I discharge and acquit both accused persons for each of the charges."
Specifically, the trial judge revisited the earlier submissions of both the EFCC and the defence counsel, saying that the accused persons who had been standing trial for conspiracy and misappropriation of the sum of N32 million belonging to the Abuja High Court, have no reason to be convicted under the evidence before the court.
"It is my respected view that to prove the misappropriation or conversion, the accused must be proved as part of the influential ingredients. Having failed to establish the loss of the money, and this would have been done by tracing the funds or part of it either to the accused persons or any other person".
Liman, who relied on the statement of the prosecution witness number six, stressed that: "The evidence before me has fallen short to prove the charges and convictions
"Besides, in the charges brought by EFCC, the lead prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, had claimed that the accused persons between December, 2003 and May 2004, in Abuja "did take dishonestly the sum of N32 million out of the possession of the High Court of the FCT without her (Court) consent and thereby committed theft punishable under section 287 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990. "
Reacting to the judgment, one of the defence counsel, Yahaya Mahmud, commended the courage of the court on the decision to discharge the accused persons.
"Nigerians should now have confidence in the Judiciary as the last bastion of the common man. We taught the EFCC can always have its way, but the court today has proved otherwise."