Court dismisses alleged breach of trust, forgery charges against Chidi Duru
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, yesterday, quashed the four-count charge brought against a former member of the House of Representatives, Chidi Nze Duru, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the Federal Government.
The former lawmaker was dragged before Justice Peter Affen on February 7, 2017 bordering on alleged criminal breach of trust and forgery of documents to which he pleaded not guilty.
Following his not guilty plea, his counsel, Abdul Muhammad, raised a preliminary objection and challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter, saying that it was an abuse of court process and the charge was not competent. He urged it to discharge Duru from all the offences contained in the charge.
He further drew the attention of the court to an order of injunction granted against EFCC by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in respect of a civil matter in which the judge ordered that status quo be maintained in the matter.
But counsel for the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, insisted that the commission conducted an independent investigation, which did not rely on the target examination report. He said that the Federal High Court did not grant any injunction restraining the EFCC from prosecuting Duru as was claimed but that the court only ordered accelerated hearing in the civil suit before it.
Justice Affen, ruling on the preliminary objection, upheld the objection of the defendant and subsequently quashed the charge brought against Duru.
He held that the prosecution engaged in abuse of court process by not waiting for the outcome of the pending case before Justice Kolawole and that it did not appeal the ruling restraining the prosecution from taking any step against the former lawmaker.