The Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has quashed the fraud charges against a former Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Timipre Sylva.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled in his judgment on Wednesday, that the withdrawal of another case before the Federal High Court on the same subject matter showed that the prosecutor did not have intentions to prosecute the case to logical conclusion.
The former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, was being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly moving 19.2 billion Naira from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012, under false pretence of using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of the State government workers.
The EFCC claimed, Sylva was in connivance with Francis Okokwo, Gbenga Balogun and Samuel Ogbuku, whom the anti-graft agency accused of using three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and Haloween Blue Construction and Logistics Limited to move the fund.
Counsel to Sylva, L. O. Fagbemi had brought an application before the court requesting that the charges be quashed, while counsel to the fourth accused person, Ajayi Olowo, in his own application, challenged the jurisdiction of the court.
But the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, argued that there was indeed a prima facie case against Sylva and his co-accused.
He further argued that the court had jurisdiction to try the case since the offences committed took place in Abuja, but Justice Mohammed struck out the case, saying the case amounted to abuse of court process and therefore, struck out the charges against the Governor.