Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos State, has struck out the two count charges bordering on illegal possession of a firearm against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, for lack of diligent prosecution.
It would be recalled that on July 25, Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on illegal possession of firearms by the Department of State Services (DSS). Although he was granted bail in the sum of N20 million, DSS rearrested him at the Court’s premises and took him to their custody.
However, the Federal Government approached the Court on August 15, 2023, where it made an oral application to withdraw the charge of illegal possession of firearms against Emefiele and proceeded to file a fresh 20-count charge against him.
Ruling on the illegal possession of firearms charge on Thursday, Justice Oweibo said, “The prosecution has shown that they are not law-abiding and have no respect for the court. The court cannot force them. What good will it be for the defendant who is in custody? Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket?
“I believe the proper thing is to allow them to withdraw the charge. They can simply abandon it and the court will still have to strike it out for lack of diligent prosecution. The application to withdraw is hereby granted.”
In the same vein, Emefiele arrived in Court on Thursday over an N6.9 billion procurement fraud charge leveled against him and two other defendants.
He was supposed to be arraigned alongside a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited on 20 charges of procurement fraud, conspiracy, and conferring corrupt advantages on his associates but his co-defendant was not in Court.
Following an application for adjournment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the matter to August 23, 2023.
According to the charges signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar; Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Mrs Nkiru Jones-Nebo, and eight other ministry officials, the three accused persons were alleged to have bought a fleet of over 98 exotic vehicles and armored buses valued at about N6.9bn.
Some of the vehicles bought between 2018 and 2020 included 84 Toyota Hilux vehicles, 10 armored Mercedes Benz buses, three Toyota Land Cruisers, and one Toyota Avalon car.
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