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Akunyili: FG Appeals Discharge of Suspects

Posted by From George Oji in Abuja and Chika Amanze-Nwachukwu in Lagos on 2005/10/02 | Views: 338 |

Akunyili: FG Appeals Discharge of Suspects


Federal Government has appealed the Abuja High Court verdict, which discharged seven suspects implicated in the assassination attempt of the Director General of the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Dora Akunyili over lack of jurisdiction.

Federal Government has appealed the Abuja High Court verdict, which discharged seven suspects implicated in the assassination attempt of the Director General of the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Dora Akunyili over lack of jurisdiction.

The seven suspects who were left off the hook by trial judge Mr. Justice Ishaq Bello last Friday, included Francis Okoye, Nnamdi Nnakwe, Marcel Nnakwe, Emeka Orjiakor, Christopher Mbah and Jude Ugwu.

Bello had ruled that his court lacked the jurisdiction to try the suspects on count 3 and 4 of the four-count charges, which related to the attack o the NAFDAC DG on December 2003 at Agulu in Anambra State.

He said since the said attack took place in Anambra State, it was only the Attorney General of the state that could issue a fiat for their trial.

Accordingly, he quashed Count 3 and 4. On count 1 and 2, which related to the attempt on her at a residence in Abuja, the judge said the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie evidence that linked them to the two counts. While he struck out the charges, which was commenced via a fiat issued by the federal attorney general, Bello ruled that the minister had no such powers.

According to the notice of appeal by government's counsel, Olaseeni Okunloye (SAN), it argued that it was an error of judgment on the part of the trial judge to decline jurisdiction in any matter.

"The law as contained in Section 4 [2] [b] of the Penal Code is that entry of an accused into the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory after commission of an offense confers jurisdiction on the court to try the accused for the offense committed", Okunloye submitted on behalf of the Federal Government.

He further maintained that the accused persons were not charged to court under Anambra State Law and as such "the learned trial Judge erred in law in holding that he had no jurisdiction to try the offenses in Counts 3 and 4 on the ground that they are offenses committed under Anambra State law which can therefore not be tried in the court of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT]".

Okunloye insisted that, "an offense consummated and or committed in Anambra State can be triable under the laws of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] and in the FCT depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. He added that the circumstance of this instant
case was triable under the FCT Laws.

He said the position of the trial judge that the accused have no case to answer on count 1 and 2, which dealt with charges of conspiracy and attempted murder was wrong since the prosecution had evidence on record to support both counts.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.