An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice S.E Aladetoyinbo has discharged and acquitted former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara and two others of allegations of bribe for budget leveled against them by the Federal Government in 2005.
The Court, said in its ruling in Abuja, in the suit with reference number FCT/HC/CR/31/2005 that the prosecution lacks witnesses to prosecute the charge and therefore discharged the defendants under Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
The two others who were set free by the court include Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez and Senator John Azuta Mbata.
Two other defendants who were listed in the suit, Hon. Garba Matazu and Professor Fabian Osuji were not present in the court, in a suit filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
According to the trial judge, prosecutors in the matter, which has been pending since 2005 could not raise witnesses to prosecute the case.
The judge stated that with the prosecutors running to a brick wall, it applied to withdraw the charge.
He said that following the failure of the prosecutor to produce witnesses, each of the counsels to the defendants also urged the court to discharge and acquit the defendants under Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which states as follows: “Where a complainant at any time before a final order is made in a case satisfies the court that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw his complaint, the court may permit him to withdraw the complaint and shall thereupon acquit the defendant.”
The Court further held: The provision of Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 is tantamount to discharge and acquittal which will enable the Defendant to plead altra for acquit in future.
“Since the prosecutor claimed that the witnesses are no more available and this matter had been pending since 2005, the court will grant the request of defence counsel. The three Defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted under Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.”
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