Court clears Jonathan’s cousin’s wife over alleged $40m scam
Insists husband, Aziboala has case to answer
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has discharged and acquitted Stella Aziboala of a nine-count charge brought against her by the Federal Government.Stella is the wife of Robert Aziboala, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The judge held that being Robert Aziboala’s wife was not enough ground to charge her, stating: “Criminal liability is personal, not vicarious.”Justice Dimgba, however, ordered Robert Aziboala and his company, One Plus Holdings Limited to defend the alleged conversion of $40 million received from the Office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, to personal use.
He gave the order in a no-case submission made by the defendants in their trial. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2016, preferred a seven-count charge against Aziboala, his wife, Stella and One Plus Holdings Limited, over an alleged $40 million contract from Dasuki.
However, as the prosecution closed his case, counsel to the defendants, Chris Uche (SAN), filed a no-case submission, insisting that the Federal Government failed to establish a prima-facie case that would warrant them to enter defence. Delivering ruling on the no-case submission yesterday, Justice Dimgba held that Aziboala (first defendant) and his firm (third defendant) have a case to answer in respect of counts two and three of the charges.
“It was claimed that the $40 million released from the Office of the former NSA to Aziboala and his company was meant for the procurement of tactical communication kits.“By the exhibits, $40 million was sent to the third defendant purportedly for the supply of tactical communication kits for Special Forces on the orders of the former NSA.
“But there was no evidence that any kits were supplied even though there were some suggestions in exhibits that the money was for some other security engagements. Meanwhile, the court absolved Robert and his firm of any wrongdoing in seven counts, including counts one, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.
In dismissing count one, the court held that the allegation relates to offence of money laundering involving $40 million transferred to the domiciliary account of One Plus Limited from the NSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “I hold that the offence of conspiracy must fail entirely given that it is legally impossible for the first and second defendants to be found guilty of conspiracy on their own.
“In the eyes of the law, they are regarded as one and therefore, legally disabled from committing conspiracy,” Justice Dimgba stated. The second defendant, Stella Aziboala Roberts, is hereby discharged and acquitted of all the nine counts in the charge,” Dimgba concluded, saying however, that Robert was to open defence on June 4 and 5, 2018.
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