FG orders withdrawal of charges against Ekeh, Zinox boss, others
Federal Government has ordered withdrawal of charges purportedly filed by Femi Falana against the Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, his wife, and few others, based on information over an alleged N170 million contract fraud with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The matter saw Benjamin Joseph, owner of Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited, an Ibadan-based ICT retail firm, stand trial for falsely petitioning the Federal Government, alleging that Ekeh and others colluded fraudulently in executing the contract.
The directive was issued via the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and communicated in a letter dated October 28, 2022, from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to the law firm of Falana & Falana.
Part of the letter, as contained in a statement, made available to journalists, yesterday, reads: “I am directed to write in reference to the above caption and to inform you that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in exercise of the power conferred upon him by Section 174(1)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, has withdrawn the authorisation earlier granted to you, dated May 10, 2022, to prosecute the case mentioned below. You are, accordingly, requested to withdraw Charge no. FCT/HC/CR/469/2022 in the interest of justice.”
The letter was signed by M.B. Abubakar, Director of Public Prosecutions, on behalf of the AGF and Minister of Justice.
“Consequently, by this letter, the Charge No: FCT/HC/CR/469/2022, purportedly filed by Falana & Falana against Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chioma Ekeh, Chris Eze Ozims, Shade Oyebode, Charles Adigwe, and others, is no longer tenable and now baseless.”
A copy of this letter, which was issued by the Federal Government after a review of the facts of the matter, has been communicated to the chambers of Mathew Burkaa SAN, legal counsel for Mr. Ekeh and others, under cover of a letter dated Monday, October 31, 2022, from the Office of the DPP, on behalf of the AGF, reconfirming withdrawal of the authorisation earlier given to Falana & Falana and directing them to discontinue the charge.
“This, therefore, lays to rest the allegations bandied about by Mr. Benjamin Joseph of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited that Mr. Ekeh and the other persons mentioned in the various publications are to be arraigned in court on November 8, 2022. Rather, it is on this date that the firm of Falana & Falana is supposed to appear in court and formally withdraw the said charge, following the clear directives of the AGF.”
Conversely, the AGF, through the Office of the DPP, in a letter dated June 6, 2022, had directed the Inspector General of Police to prosecute Benjamin Joseph to a logical conclusion.
The directive came a couple of weeks after the AGF discovered that material information was withheld in the application by Falana & Falana for the authorisation earlier granted to prosecute Ekeh and others.