• Begs court not to put him on trial
A former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero is embroiled in a litigation over a N557.9m assistance given to the police by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president donated the sum when he was the governor of Bayelsa State. Ehindero is asking a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory not to subject him to trial on the matter.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission is prosecuting Ehindero and a former Commissioner of Police (Budget), Mr. J.O. J. Obaniyi at the Abuja High Court.
The ex-IG had, in a letter to the then Governor Jonathan, sought financial assistance from his government to buy arms and ammunition for the Police.
Ehindero allegedly said the weapons would be used to beef up security in Bayelsa State and ward off threats by militants.
The State government reportedly responded by approving N1billion although only N557.9million of the sum could be accessed by the police.
However, the N557.9million ended up in fixed deposit accounts in WEMA (N300million on July 4, 2006)) and the defunct Intercontinental (N200milion on July 10, 2006) banks.
The N16.5m interest said to have been generated at the expiration of the tenor on the deposits was not remitted into the Federal Government’s account.
Following investigations into the N557.9million arms deal, the ICPC, in April last year grilled Ehindero and some officials of the Ministry of Police Affairs.
The investigations led to the filing of charges against the former IGP and a former Commissioner of Police (Budget), Mr. J. O.J. Obaniyi
But Ehindero, in a preliminary objection through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) drew a battle line with ICPC.
He said there was no basis for his trial going by Sections 6 (6), 36, 174, 251 (1) (a) and 251(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
He also based his argument for quashing of charges against him on Sections 19, 25, 26(1) (c) and 26 (2) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act CAP. C31 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (2004) and Sections 154 and 185 of the Criminal Procedure Code CAP, C42 Laws of the Federation.
He said: “That the offence alleged is not disclosed by the statement of witnesses or proof of evidence and there is nothing linking the accused person with the charge upon which he can be called upon to explain his own position.
“That the charge is a complete abuse of Court process, as the Court apparently granted consent to prefer the charge in the absence of information linking the accused with the charge. There is no nexus how so ever between 1st Accused and the charge or any of the offences mentioned therein.
“The counts in the charge are not tied to the offending section of the Act to enable the court deal with specific criminal conduct. The offences are not known to law.”
Ehindero also said that the Abuja High Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
He added: “It is the Federal High Court that has jurisdiction to entertain the charge preferred against the 1st Accused/Applicant. Section 251 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution as altered gives the Federal High Court jurisdiction over civil matter relating to the revenue of the Government of the Federation in which the said Government or any organ thereof or a person suing or being sued on behalf of the said Government is a party, or is interested.”
A reliable source in ICPC said: “The former IGP has the right to file preliminary objection but we will leave the court to decide accordingly.
“We have initiated his trial in court and it is left to the Judiciary to make a pronouncement on his fate. We would reply him only on the point of law. But so far, he is facing trial.”
via The Nation
New York Times
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