Court dismisses N715m scam charges against Jonathan’s minister


CourtA Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, discharged and acquitted a former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Kabiru Turaki, of unlawful and criminal misappropriation of N715m filed against him and three others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Turaki served as minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Justice Inyang Ekwo in his judgment quashed all the 16 counts preferred against the former minister by the EFCC on the grounds that his trial was not only illegal, but unconstitutional.

The judge pronounced the trial unconstitutional following the refusal of the anti-corruption agency to give effect to a letter by the Attorney-General of the Federation to make the case file in respect of the charges available to his office.

“Under the 1999 Constitution and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the AGF, who is the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, has inherent powers to review any criminal charge, take over the trial and even terminate the charges as his office may deem fit,” Justice Ekwo said.

He held that the EFCC missed it by ignoring and neglecting the AGF’s letter of April 4, 2020, which demanded the case file for review in order to avoid malicious prosecution.

Justice Ekwo stated that any law enforcement agency that ignored or neglected the directive of the AGF did so at its own peril and proceeded to invoke sections 105 of ACJA and 21 and 23 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012 and Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution to declare Turaki’s trial unlawful, illegal, null and void and struck it out

On the no-case submission, the court, while pointing out that the defendants dislodged the evidence of the prosecution witnesses during cross-examination, held that it was established that Turaki was not a signatory to the account of the ministry and that there was no documentary evidence to show that he authorised any payment or make any transfer of funds.

The court held that the former minister was not a member of the Ministerial Tenders Board and that there was no inflow of funds from the account of the ministry to his company.

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