A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja presided by Justice Olukayode A. Adeniyi yesterday dismissed a case of no submission brought by the former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu and a former Director General of the Directorate of Rural Development in his administration, Alfa Ibn Mustapha.
The duo had asked the court to quash the 36 count charge against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N10,965,837,040 (Ten Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand, Eighty Hundred and Thirty Seven Naira, Forty Kobo)
Audu and his co- accused on 2nd May and 17th June 2013 respectively, filed the separate applications for reasons of want of jurisdiction, competency and abuse of court processes.
On his part, Audu through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN further prayed in the alternative for reliefs of stay of further proceedings of the instant charge, pending the hearing and final determination of the two appeal cases pending at the Abuja and Kogi Appellate courts.
In arriving at his decision to strike out the applications, the learned trial judge
maintained that as long as part of the proceed of the purported crimes were laundered through Abuja based banks, and used to acquire houses in Abuja, with the accused ordinarily residing also in Abuja , the court has the territorial jurisdiction to determine the counts.
The judge also stated that Audu’s argument on abuse of court process in view of the charges at the appellate courts which his counsel said was alive,extant and pending was a dissipation of judicial time because the case had been set aside through a nolle prosequi filed by the Attorney General of the federation and that of Kogi State respectively.
He concurred with the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN that where a nolle is entered in a matter, and before the court formally pronounces thereupon, a fresh matter which is filed in another court with respect with the same subject matter, cannot constitute an abuse of court process.
One of the charges against the duo read: “that you Prince Abubakar Audu and Alfa Ibn Mustapha between 2000 and 2002 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory while being the governor of Kogi state and Director General of Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development respectively, and in such capacities entrusted with dominion over certain property, to wit: an aggregated sum of N2,877, 487,690.88 meant for rural development in Kogi State committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum which you falsely claim to be payment made to Aresanmi Technical Industries Limited in respect of the contract allegedly awarded Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development to the said Aresanmi Technical Industries Limited and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code, CAP 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990”.
The case has been adjourned to 11 – 14 of November for trial.