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Anti-graft Law Extinct, Says Wabara

Posted by From George Oji and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja on 2005/07/12 | Views: 542 |

Anti-graft Law Extinct, Says Wabara


Former Senate President Adolphus Wabara yesterday told an Abuja High Court presided over by Mr. Justice Hussein Mukhtar that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act 2000, under which he is being prosecuted is extinct.

* Bribe-for-Budget Scandal

Former Senate President Adolphus Wabara yesterday told an Abuja High Court presided over by Mr. Justice Hussein Mukhtar that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act 2000, under which he is being prosecuted is extinct.

He said the Act of the National Assembly, which established the ICPC was repealed in 2003.

He also urged the court to quash all the 15-count charge of corruption levelled against him and five others because the charges were brought under the repealed ICPC Act 2000.

Wabara's arguments were articulated on his behalf by his lead counsel, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun (SAN)
Citing section 6 (1) of the Interpretation Act, Olanipekun argued that, "by virtue of section 6 (1) of the Interpretation Act, at the time the National Assembly passed the ICPC Act 2003, which repealed the ICPC Act 2000, the ICPC Act 2000 ceases to exist in law.

"So that when the Federal High Court declared the ICPC Act 2003 void, the court has no power to give life to the repealed ICPC Act 2000, which was no longer existing at the time. You can't give life to what does not exist. The court cannot perform the functions of the legislature either.”
Wabara's position was adopted by all the other accused persons standing trial with him. They are Senators Ibrahim Abdulazeez, John Azuta Mbata, Emmanuel Okpede, Badamasi Maccido as well as Hon Garba Matazu and former Education Minister, Prof Fabian Osuji.

The accused persons also urged the trial judge to set aside a leave already granted by him to the ICPC to prefer charges against them.
The accused persons faulted the procedure adopted by ICPC before obtaining leave of the court for their prosecution. They stated that it is mandatory for any prosecutor asking for the leave of the court to prefer charges against accused persons to attach statements of potential witnesses to the proof of evidence presented before the court to procure the permission. This, according to them, was not complied with by the ICPC.

"What ICPC attached to its proof of evidence presented before Justice Hussein Muhktar to procure the leave to prefer charges was mere summary of statements of potential witnesses, which were substantially altered," Olanipekun said.
He cited two relevant legal authorities to substantiate his position including Mohammed Abacha Vs State and Chief Paul Milton Ohvowhoriole where the Supreme Court held that the proof of evidence to be presented before a trial court for procurement of leave of the court must include the written statements of the witnesses in the case.

Wabara disagreed with the prosecution's position that President Olusegun Obasanjo’s national broadcast that the legislators demanded and received bribe from the sacked Education Minister, Osuji, was in compliance with the principle of fair comment.

Although, counsel representing each of the accused persons spoke separately, they all agreed that Obasanjo's broadcast and his statement that it was only in Nigeria that thieves go to court could not be said to be fair comment.
They contended that since the trial judge was among Nigerians that listened to the president’s broadcast condemning the accused persons as bunch of corrupt persons, they were of the view that the mind of the judge was already prejudiced.


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Comments (7)

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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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)