By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will appeal the verdict delivered today by Justice Olasumbo Olajumoke Goodluck of the FCT High Court, Abuja, which upheld a no-case submission by a former Head of Service (HoS), Stephen Oronsaye.
Oronsaye, who was also a former Chairman of Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force, PCFATF, was slammed with a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust by the agency.
The EFCC, prosecuting, alleged that Orosanye took undue advantage of his office to receive N190million, part of a N240million grant for the committee by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and converted same to personal use.
The prosecution had after calling six witnesses closed its case setting the stage for Oronsaye to enter his defence.
Rather than enter his defence, Oronsaye, through his counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, on December 9, 2016 filed a no-case submission urging the court to strike out the charge on the grounds that it was defective and lacked essential elements required to prosecute the defendant.
Agabi stated that the prosecution neither specified the amount that was entrusted to the defendant, nor the mandate of the committee he chaired.
The learned silk contended that there was no proven offence by the prosecution to warrant the defendant to enter defence.
In his counter argument, the prosecuting counsel, Offem Uket, told the court that the prosecution had proven its case.
According to him, the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendant as to warrant his defence.
Uket believed that it was not right to bring up the issue of imperfection of charges at this stage, as it was against the provisions of Sections 220 and 221 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015.
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the no-case submission by the defence.
Ruling on the application today, Justice Goodluck held that, “the prosecution has not put anything before the court to justify the charges for which the defendant is being tried”.
He consequently, discharged the accused “of the 7-count charge against him”.
However, the Commission believes the trial judge erred in his ruling and will approach the appeal court to set aside the ruling, said Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesman.
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