14th June, 2011
Embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole has filed an application before the Federal High Court seeking to quash the 16-count charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In the application filed by his lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria, the former Speaker raised six grounds upon which the court should quash the charges.
He challenged the competency of the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, to exercise prosecutional powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation when as at the time of filing the charges, there was no Attorney General of the Federation to give him the fiat to prosecute.
According to Mr. Bankole, â€œThe last AGF was Mohammed Adoke, who vacated officially on the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council on 28 May, 2011. The AGF is the only officer that the Constitution empowers to issue fiat to private legal practitioner to institute or continue criminal proceedings in the high court.â€
He pointed out that charges were filed on June 7th, 2011 when no AGF was in office and argued that he was at no time the material person answerable to any acts or omission done pursuant to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, which he was accused to have contravened.
According to him, the office of speaker of the House Representatives which he occupied between the years 2007 and 2011 is not cognizable for the purpose of criminal responsibility or liability within the scope and intendment of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
Bankole also said that the proof of evidence did not connect him with the items allegedly procured in contravention of the Public Procurement Act .
The charges in respect of which the application to quash was filed were the ones pending before the Federal High Court where Bankole was accused of colluding with some people who were said to be at large to increase the cost of purchasing Samsung television sets, HP computers, Digital Copiers, 2 units of Range Rover Bullet Proof vehicles and 3 units of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars among others.
He is also standing trial before Justice Suleiman Belgore of an Abuja High Court on an alleged misappropriation of about N40 billion loan secured against the account of the House of Representatives domiciled at UBA Plc in connivance with the former Deputy Speaker, Usman Nafada.