24 November 2012

Nigeria: N4 Billion Scam - Supreme Court Clears Way for Abubakar Audu's Trial

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the former Kogi State governor, Abubakar Audu 's appeal, thereby clearing the way for his fresh arraignment.

In a judgement delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal was wrong to consider the questions referred to it for determination after being aware from the records of Appeal that a nolleprosequi had been filed. "This is so because there is/was nothing before the trial court, so there would be nothing for the Court of Appeal to send back.

It amounted to an academic exercise for the Court of Appeal to waste judicial time considering questions from a case that is no longer in existence. There was no longer live issue to be considered by the Court of Appeal in view of nolleprosequi filed in the trial court".

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Audu on December 1, 2006, on an 80 criminal count charge of fraud and embezzlement of public fund, to the tune of over N4 billion, while he was governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003.

The Commission had asked the former Attorney General of Kogi State, Dr. John Alewo Agbonika and the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo to nolleprosequi or discontinue Audu's trial on February 8, 2007 on the grounds that it has lost faith in the handling of the matter by the State High Court.

But rather than discontinue the matter in the spirit of the nolleprosequi, the trial judge, Justice Medupin, went ahead as he further referred two questions to the Court of Appeal for determination.

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