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Wabara, Osuji say ICPC law outdated

Posted by MALACHY UZENDU, Abuja on 2005/06/14 | Views: 316 |

Wabara, Osuji say ICPC law outdated


DEFENCE lawyers in the alleged N55 million bribery scam at the National Assembly yesterday asked an Abuja High Court to quash the charges preferred against their clients because they were dragged to court under non-existent laws.

DEFENCE lawyers in the alleged N55 million bribery scam at the National Assembly yesterday asked an Abuja High Court to quash the charges preferred against their clients because they were dragged to court under non-existent laws.

The accused persons, including former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and former Education Minister, Professor Fabian Osuji, informed the court that since the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) Act 2002 had been repealed, it was improper for government to have charged them to court under such an ‘expired" enactment.

Yesterday’s proceedings, saw lawyer to Senator John Azuta Mbata and Hon. Shehu Matazu, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) as well as his colleague who represented Senator Abubakar Maccido, Mr. Tahaya Mahmoud, raising legal points to quash the charges.

According to Mr. Mahmoud, "the charges, My Lord, were preferred under non-existent ICPC Act 2000 which was repealed by ICPC Act 2003.

"Having made the 5th accused person to enter plea on April 12, I submit, Mr. Lord, that the plea taken was irregular in law. The applicant (5th accused) was also made to plead to charges that has nothing to do with him.

"We also noted that the pleadings made at Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were not included in the Proof of Evidence (POE). Also, the alleged bribery which was said to do with the 2005 budget, was not alleged in any part of the POE," Mahmoud added.

His counterpart handling the briefs of Senator Mbata and Hon Matazu, Dr. Izinyon, dwelt extensively on the missing link between the POE and the charges preferred against his clients.

According to him, the prosecution failed to provide the necessary nexus that would warrant the granting of the application to prefer a charge against the accused persons.

Izinyon noted that under the statute books, the courts could only grant such a preliminary application after having examined the POE which in this case, "did not disclose any prima facie case against the applicants."

In particular, he made references to the attached statement of Senator Chris Adighije, who was listed as prosecution witness number six (PW6) in the POE, whom Izinyon noted "had exonerated my client."

"My Lord, going through all the statements, of the 21 witnesses lined up for this case, the only witness that has something to say is the number six (Senator Adighije).

"Obliquely, number seven, Ngozi Obichere who is shown to the committee secretary in passing, just mentioned the applicants and so, it can not stand as ground against them.

"On Adighije’s statements, he said the N55 million was handed over to EFCC at Senator Mamman Ali’s residence following discussions he (adighije) had with Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, he (Adighije) realised there was conspiracy to use him to protect certain interests.

"The rule is that either the statement is attached to the POE or a summary of it is made available, but there is a deliberate omission of this vital document in the application to prefer a charge which renders it null and void," Izinyon stated.

He insisted that from the other witnesses lined up in the matter, they were but EFCC officials "and they were listed in the suit for formalities."

Izinyon further argued that the case ought not stand because even as at the time of trial, there was no formal complaint brought by anybody to the ICPC, which by law can only look into a matter only when they had received a complaint.

Izinyon further added that the presidential broadcast on the matter not only pre-judged and condemned the accused in the eyes of the ordinary people in the society, but had indirectly invited both the judiciary to condemn them.

"That statement is prejudicial as it came from somebody who wield enormous powers. The effect of the statement before trial is that the ordinary person and even the judiciary would view the applicants as being guilty because the president has judged and pronounced them guilty."

The matter was adjourned to next Monday to enable Prof. Osuji’s lawyer, Chief Christ Uche (SAN) make his submissions.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown