Court rejects Police request to terminate $400,000 oil vessel fraud case
Chief Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed of an Ilorin Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday rejected a request by the Police headquarters in Abuja, seeking the termination of an alleged fraud case.
The case is that of fraudulent sale of a $400,000 oil vessel to Alhaji Kamoru Yusuf, owner of Kam Steel Holdings Limited.
The court during its last sitting, remanded the defendants, Esther Shehu and David Kpanaki, for allegedly conspiring to defraud the complainant.
The case was then adjourned to Aug. 31 for hearing.
They were dragged to court on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, cheating, screening an offender and obstruction.
Earlier, the Police Posecutor, Nasir Yusuf, informed the court that: “We will not be able to proceed with the application”.
He explained that the state Officer-in-Charge Legal, Mr Timothy Ajibola, had directed the termination of the case based on the receipt of a letter from the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“That the case should be terminated and the defendant alongside the case diary, brought to the Force Headquarters, Abuja,” he added.
He tendered the letter from the force headquarters, which was admitted as evidence by the court.
The defence counsel, Mashood Abdulkadir, did not object to the decision.
He however expressed dissatisfaction with the move.
But counsel to the complainant, Mr Ahmed Tafa, rejected the move, describing the development as “strange”.
Ruling on the matter, Magistrate Mohammed said he cannot terminate the case “given the antecedent”.
“The investigation before me has not been controverted and I am threatened by the level of applications filed by the (prosecutor).
“The case was not meant for this business today. It was instituted by a direct complaint following which the court ordered for the investigation.
“So on what basis would you order for the termination of a case that was instituted at the instance of the court in the first place.
“The Police have not shown commitment for the court to grant their request.
“The Kwara Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has held that the defendants have a case to answer. If the Police want to seek termination, they should go through the DPP, not the court,” Mohammed stressed.
He adjourned the case to Aug. 18, for determination of termination motion, adding that the Aug. 31, date still stands to determine the issue of the bail of the defendants.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.