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Court dismisses fraud charges against Sylva

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Court dismisses fraud charges against Sylva

Court dismisses fraud charges against Sylva
November 27
07:02 2015

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the entire 50 counts of fraud preferred against the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in the forthcoming December 5, 2015 election in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, in a ruling, upheld the notices of preliminary objection filed by Sylva and other accused persons and dismissed the charges which he held constituted “a complete abuse of court process.”
EFCC had alleged that Sylva and other co-accused used three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited to move about N21bn from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012, under false pretence of using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of the state government workers.
The other accused persons who were also discharged of the fraud charges are Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, Samuel Ogbuku, Marlin Maritime Ltd., Eat Catering Services Ltd. and Haloween-Blue Construction Logistics.
The court held that the charges filed on June 12, 2015, amounted to abuse of court processes and thus lacked the jurisdiction to entertain them as they were exactly the same with the set of charges filed by the EFCC and earlier dismissed by another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
Justice Ademola also held that part of the charges also constituted multiplicity of legal actions on the same subject matter against the defendants as part of the charges were exactly the same set earlier withdrawn and struck out by yet another judge of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Justice Evoh Chukwu.
He held, “It is trite that what constitutes an abuse of court process includes instituting multiplicity of action on the same subject matter and the same parties even if they have legal rights to begin the action.
“This honourable court has perused the charges in suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/280/2015, suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/167/2013 and suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012 and observed that counts one to 42 in the charge sheet before this honourable court (FHC/ABJ/CR/280/2015) are the same and identical with counts one to 42 in the amended charge FHC/ABJ/CR/167/2013 attached as Exhibit B which was dismissed by my learned brother in Court 7, Justice A.R Mohammed.
“Counts 43 to 50 in the charge in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012 that was withdrawn and struck out in Court 8 of Federal High Court attached as exhibit are substantially the same as Counts 43 to 50 FHC/CR/280/2015 that is the one before this court.
“Counts number two, three and four in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012 are exactly the same with count number 43, 44 and 45 of the charge before this court.”
The judge held that going by the antecedent of the three cases instituted by the EFCC first in 2012, “there is clearly some bias, malice or some desire to mislead or perverse this system.”

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