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Ehindero's trial begins

21 September 2012, 16:51

 Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of an Abuja High Court on Friday dismissed an application by former Inspector General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero, which urged the court to stop ICPC from arraigning him.

Oniyangi also dismissed similar application filed by the suspended Commissioner of Police in charge of Budget at the Force Headquarters, Mr John Obaniyi.

The judge also refused to vacate the leave granted the ICPC to arraign the duo.

The duo had filed separate notices of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court as well as the leave granted the ICPC to file charges against them.

They had prayed the court to quash the six-count charge preferred against them by the anti-graft agency.

The ICPC had filed a six-count charge of alleged corrupt embezzlement of N16 million against them.

The ICPC said the amount was the interests generated from N567 million donated to the Nigeria Police by the Bayelsa Government for the purchase of arms, ammunition and riot control equipment.

The accused persons could be imprisoned for seven years if convicted.

Delivering his ruling, Oniyangi held that the anti-graft agency had, by the proof of evidence before the court, successfully established a prima facie evidence against the accused to warrant their being put to trial.

``Prima facie evidence has been shown by the ICPC through the exhibits and statements of witness to proceed with trial,'' he said.

Oniyangi also held that the ICPC was competent to prosecute the accused, adding that the ICPC Act 2000, under which the duo were charged, was a valid law.

Oniyangi said that the submission of Ehindero's counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), that the ICPC Act 2000 was a non existing law, was not tenable.

He said that the offence the suspects were charged with were known to written laws, stressing that it was not correct to say the ICPC was charging the accused under non-existent law.

The judge further held that the commission is empowered to prosecute offences which fall under the penal and criminal codes.

Oniyangi, therefore, dismissed the objections and subsequently ordered that Ehindero and Obaniyi be arraigned.

After the ruling, Oniyangi read the charges to Ehindero and Obaniyi.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Oniyangi, refused to grant bail to Ehindero and Obaniyi on liberal terms as made in an oral application by Ozekhome.

He granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each and one surety in like sum.

Oniyangi ordered that the surety must swear to an affidavit of means.

He also said the accused persons should be detained in prison if they failed to meet the bail conditions.

Oniyangi adjourned the case to Nov. 12 for accelerated hearing.


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