FG applies to withdraw firearm charge against Emefiele
The Federal Government has filed an application before a Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking to withdraw the firearm charge against former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele.
At the last proceedings, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who is sitting as a vacation judge, fixed yesterday for hearing of the applications filed by both parties in the suit.
The defence had prayed for quashing the charge for alleged failure of the prosecution to obey court order granting bail to the defendant.
The prosecution, on the other hand, opposed the request via a leave of court.
But at the resumed hearing, Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court of government’s decision to withdraw the charge, citing emerging facts and circumstances that needed thorough investigation.
Lead defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), in his response, argued that such a request under Section 174(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) could not be made orally, but in a formal application that establishes the need for public interest, justice and prevention of abuse of legal process.
He insisted that the custody of his client should not be transferred from the Department of State Services (DSS) to a correctional facility in disobedience of an existing court order granting him bail.
The DPP disagreed, noting that Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 grants a prosecutor power to withdraw charges at any stage, without necessarily putting it in writing.
Justice Oweibo, subsequently, adjourned till tomorrow for judgment, adding that the new development is a “surprise” to the court.
The court had on July 25,2023 granted Emefiele bail in sum of N20 million on a two-count charge of alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. He was ordered to be remanded at the correctional centre pending perfection of his bail terms.
But the DSS rearrested the embattled banker after fighting off officers from the Nigerian Correctional service (NCoS) within court premises.
At the close of activities, Abubakar hinted that a fresh 20-count charge had been filed against Emefiele at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court revolving around alleged unlawful advantage and procurement under the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) Act.
HOWEVER, Daudu, yesterday, said he was yet to sight the fresh charges.
The senior lawyer had maintained that the government needed to be sanctioned for disobeying a court order for Emefiele’s freedom.
Daudu said: “We have not seen the so-called new charge.”
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