Nigeria: Alleged N1bn Fraud - ICPC Withdraws Charges Against Ex-Customs Boss

The federal high court in Abuja has dismissed charges of corruption filed by the ICPC against a former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko.

The charges were dropped on Wednesday by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on an application by the anti-graft agency, informing the court of its difficulties to apprehend Mr Dikko, TheCable reported on Wednesday.

The court had earlier issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Dikko after he failed to appear for his trial.

The court issued the bench warrant at its last sitting in March after the ICPC confirmed that Mr Dikko was not on admission in a London hospital contrary to the claim by the defence counsel, Solomon Akuma.

The ICPC prosecuting counsel, E. A. Shogunle, had told the court that information available showed that the defendant left Nigeria on February 15 and arrived in London through Dubai on February 19.

He said the findings were contrary to the claim by Mr Akuma that Mr Dikko was on admission in a hospital in London as at February 17.

But at Wednesday's hearing, according to the report, Mr Shogunle informed the court that they had been unable to apprehend Mr Dikko despite the warrant issued against him.

Justice Ojukwu then granted the application of dismissal of charges against Mr Dikko.

Background

The ICPC is prosecuting the former Customs boss alongside two others, Garba Makarfi and Umar Husseini, on multiple charges bordering on defrauding the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, of N1.1 billion.

According to the charge sheet exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, they are accused of inducing Mr Obadeyi to pay N1.1 billion into the account of Capital Law Office as a refundable "completion security deposit" for the purchase of 120 units of duplexes as residential accommodation for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service."

The ICPC accused Messrs Dikko and Makarfi of using the bank account of Mr Hussaini's firm's to illegally receive the money. The anti-graft agency further alleged that Mr Hussaini, within the same period between April 6 and December 2010, shared the money into various accounts.

In another development, the EFCC had also recovered 17 "exotic vehicles" in a warehouse belonging to Mr Dikko.

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