2nd June, 2010
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday freed former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, former Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, and Sen. Ibrahim Abdulazeez from a N50 million bribery allegation.
Justice Mary Odili, while delivering the judgment, held that the charge was bogus and failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.
Odili said the prosecution failed to attach the list of witnesses and other relevant documents to the charge as required by law.
She held that the criminal charge was frivolous, baseless and had no merit and as such could not be sustained.
The court also held that the prosecution had earlier resorted to self help by subjecting the accused persons to a pre-court trial.
“You recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo pronounced the accused persons guilty in his nationwide broadcast in 2005; that was prejudicial and no court will take it.
“The action of the Federal Government on the allegation was most embarrassing, barbaric and uncivilized because the accused persons were adjudged guilty before the trial,â€™â€™ she added.
“In view of this, the accused persons are set free as the prosecution employed all means but failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,â€™â€™ she said.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) had in 2005 leveled a 15-count charge against the accused persons.
The ICPC had accused them of obtaining the amount to facilitate the passage of the proposed budget of the federal ministry of Education.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sen.Â Badamasi Maccido, Sen. Emmanuel Okpede and one other, accused of the same, died during the preliminary stage of the trial.
The accused persons had urged an Abuja High Court to quash the charges against them on Nov. 10, 2005, but their prayer was dismissed by the court.