INEC ex-officials lose bid to stop trial over alleged N264m fraud
A federal High Court, Lagos yesterday dismissed the no-case application filed by two former officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara State, Christian Nwosu and Tijani Nda Bashir. Nwosu and Bashir are standing trial on an alleged N264m fraud.
They were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris in April 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving gratification from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke. EFCC is alleging that the two ex-INEC officials received the funds to manipulate the result of the 2015 general election in the state.
Justice Idris, while dismissing the no-case application yesterday, said in view of the evidence proffered by the EFCC witnesses, coupled with the facts and circumstances that surround the case, it could not be said that the defendants have no case to answer.
“The extra judicial statement made to EFCC by these defendants raise a lot of questions, which they must be called upon to answer. Accordingly, this application lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed. The defendants are hereby ordered to open their defence,” he held.
Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that in view of the ruling, the prosecution would be requesting that the trial proceed immediately.However, Mr. Victor Opara pleaded with the court to grant him adjournment to enable him assemble his witnesses. The trail judge later adjourned the case to August 23 and 24, 2018.
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