Tuesday, 7 February 2017

[NG]N2.2 billion fraud: Why Nigeria dropped charges against Supreme Court Registrar, others — Official

The Nigerian government says it withdrew the charge against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court based on information provided during a plea bargain between the prosecution and the defendants.
The Federal Government on Tuesday withdrew all charges brought against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Saleh, and two others.
The officials, including Mr. Saleh, Muhammed Sharif, and Rilwanu Lawal, were accused of a N2.2 billion fraud.
The charges, filed on October 3 at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory by the Attorney General of the Federation, said the accused persons diverted N2.2 billion and received bribes amounting to tens of millions of naira.
Previous attempts to arraign the three defendants in the past were stalled.
The matter was slated for continuation on Tuesday, but the prosecution counsel, Hajara Yusuf, said she had received directives to withdraw the charges.
She prayed the court to discharge the matter at its convenience.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, Salihu Isah, the spokesperson for the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, said the decision to withdraw the matter, resulted from a plea bargain and information that had proven helpful for further investigation.
“You know that it is not out of place to withdraw a matter, even after it has been brought to court. The withdrawal is based on information provided during plea-bargain that has proven helpful for the investigation of other judges under examination,” said Mr. Salihu.
According to the nine-count charge, the defendants, Ahmed Saleh, Muhammed Sharif, and Rilwanu Lawal diverted N2. 2 billion belonging to the Supreme Court to their personal bank account at the United Bank for Africa, with account number: 2027642863.
The offence was in contravention of Section 10(a) (i) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.
The defendants were also charged with contravening the provision of Section 96 of the Penal Code.
The charge also alleged that they obtained gratification totaling N80 million contrary to the ICPC Act.
The Federal Government also alleged that the defendants obtained N2.4million gratification from Welcon Nigeria Ltd, N16million from Dean Musa Nig. Ltd.
The defendants were also alleged to have collected N19million from Ababia Ventures Ltd as gratification.
The companies were private contractors that provided services to the apex court.


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