N2.2 billion fraud: Why Nigeria dropped charges against Supreme Court Registrar, others — Official

Supreme Court of Nigeria
Supreme Court of Nigeria

The Nigerian government says it withdrew the charge against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court based on information provided during a plea bargain between the prosecution and the defendants.

The Federal Government on Tuesday withdrew all charges brought against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Saleh, and two others.

The officials, including Mr. Saleh, Muhammed Sharif, and Rilwanu Lawal, were accused of a N2.2 billion fraud.

The charges, filed on October 3 at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory by the Attorney General of the Federation, said the accused persons diverted N2.2 billion and received bribes amounting to tens of millions of naira.

Previous attempts to arraign the three defendants in the past were stalled.

The matter was slated for continuation on Tuesday, but the prosecution counsel, Hajara Yusuf, said she had received directives to withdraw the charges.

She prayed the court to discharge the matter at its convenience.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, Salihu Isah, the spokesperson for the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, said the decision to withdraw the matter, resulted from a plea bargain and information that had proven helpful for further investigation.

“You know that it is not out of place to withdraw a matter, even after it has been brought to court. The withdrawal is based on information provided during plea-bargain that has proven helpful for the investigation of other judges under examination,” said Mr. Salihu.

According to the nine-count charge, the defendants, Ahmed Saleh, Muhammed Sharif, and Rilwanu Lawal diverted N2. 2 billion belonging to the Supreme Court to their personal bank account at the United Bank for Africa, with account number: 2027642863.

The offence was in contravention of Section 10(a) (i) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

The defendants were also charged with contravening the provision of Section 96 of the Penal Code.

The charge also alleged that they obtained gratification totaling N80 million contrary to the ICPC Act.

The Federal Government also alleged that the defendants obtained N2.4million gratification from Welcon Nigeria Ltd, N16million from Dean Musa Nig. Ltd.

The defendants were also alleged to have collected N19million from Ababia Ventures Ltd as gratification.

The companies were private contractors that provided services to the apex court.


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  • Dazmillion

    People that stole 2.2 billion left of the hook, People that forge senate standing order left of the hook, anyone who still thinks Buharam government is fighting corruption should quickly check himself into the nearest psychiatric hospital for urgent mental evaluation.

    • Sanssouci

      and yet just yesterday someone that stole 70k laptop got 7 years in prison!!!!

    • Kamalu

      Agree fully. It’s becoming silly to think that the Change mantra is real. The nepotism that killed off Jonathan’s government has again taken centre stage.

  • Angry Niaja

    Nigeria is a crazy country

  • realist

    3 of them are northerners, so they must be northern connected and be free of that monumental fraud in the name of plea bargaining. They have used them to nail Justice Ademola and co, who are the main target of the Anthony General. Malami has forgotten the law of Kalma, that no evil done against other humans would go unpunished. It would be his own turn tomorrow.

    • MamaHannatu

      Just hear yourself, bringhing tribalism into the discussion since you have nothing better to say. Go get some education and rise above this base mindset!!!

      • Gary

        So how about giving us a counter-narrative in this instance and others where Northerners always get to walk via plea bargains but Southerners get docked for corruption? Please help so that everybody will be availed of this great loophole to avoid justice.

        • share Idea

          The first statement of this AGF when sworn in was thatey will no longer be plea bargain, now, we are being told of plea bargain.

          How court will be told to strike out a case without information, and someone from AGF will provide such silly excuse to the public. APC is propaganda party

      • BenAri22

        Respond based on facts, not diatribe. The evidence against your nepotistic, tribalistic Buhari is pretty overwhelming now, don’t you think? Delay on Onnoghen is just the latest. Hard to do, I know, but try to rise above nativistic tendencies. For your ilk, it may be close to impossible.

        • Powerlessconscious

          Who is diatraibe than the biafraud?

    • Wetin Naija

      Nigeria for you

    • Mufu Ola

      Inferiority complex have eaten deep into the skin of your types. That’s why u can’t reason sensibly & are always north phobia.

  • zung

    Most of this AG’s decisions so far have been questionable and I am simply not comfortable with this as well.

  • Akwaowo

    The more you look the more you that the APC government of Buhari is only fighting corruption in the pages of newspapers.

  • Michael

    In a normal civilised country a plea bargain would not mean the complete dropping of charges, its only in Nigeria that elite criminals are given a pat on the shoulder in exchange for the return of their loot whilst ordinary criminals languish in jail for stealing a goat. There’s no way the AG would have agreed to this without obtaining a slice of the pie. Nation of barbarians.

    • Truth Konveyor

      Jumping to conclusions so hastily? There is no where in the report that suggest that this matter is ended. They could still be rearraigned or be used as prosecution witnesses.

      • Michael

        In a normal civilised country the prosecuting authority would disclose the nature of the plea bargain. It would not be based on speculation like yours; they may still do X or Y. We the tax payers are entitled to know. Secondly my comments are based on not just this case but dozens of others. How do you describe the slap on the wrist of Mrs Ibru?

        • Truth Konveyor

          Did you read the report at all? I wonder what you want disclosed when the process is ongoing. The report indicates that the plea bargaining discussions have provided government with more information that would help further investigation whose purpose is not stated. You should not jump the gun.
          Having said that, with your permission, let me educate you on plea bargain as a legal instrument used in some jurisdictions to settle some cases out of court. Bargain in the phrase automatically suggests to the unlearned that everything will be on the table. Sometimes, it may be agreed by both parties for non disclosure or limited disclosure. It depends on the purpose of the bargaining. So it is not out place not to disclose the details of plea bargain. You can make further research on the subject if you like.

          • Michael

            Thanks for attempting to educate me but I don’t need any of your pomposity. I’m a criminal law attorney in 4 jurisdictions. Your comments are fundamentally flawed on two grounds. First, you have failed to address my central point that too many ‘ elite criminals’ are simply given a pat on the back provided they return money allegedly stolen. I won’t waste my time here with examples. I assume you read beyond the comic books of newspapers to know what is going on in this country. Secondly, you seem to be conflating settlement in civil cases with plea bargaining in criminal cases. It could also be that you’re only familiar with what pertains in nigeria. It is nonsensical to suggest that a plea bargain may sometimes ‘not be laid out on the table.’ Except where national security issues are concerned Courts are public arenas where anyone in the street is entitled to venture. Nothing in the report suggests that these were secret proceedings. The very essence of a ‘plea bargain’is that there has to be some form of a plea otherwise what are they bargaining? . Do you get it? Parties bargain over a plea. By law that plea must be taken in court not behind closed doors between the parities which would usually be a plea to a lesser charge in response to an admission of guilt to that charge. Trials are not to be conducted in secret. The public has a right to know that justice is being done. If in this case the AG has decided that no charges are to be brought then that’s not a plea bargain at all. It seems that I’m the one having to educate you.

        • Powerlessconscious

          Liar.

  • Election

    Buhari whether you like it or not, you will leave after 4 or 8 years. so stop deceiving Nigerians that you are fighting corruption

  • Wetin Naija

    Pretty clear. 3 Northerners off the legal process again. AG Malami
    letting the northerners off while different Southerners are facing legal
    action every day. Tell Nigerians the reasons the 3 criminals were off
    the hook.

    • Truth Konveyor

      Maybe they did not know they were northerners before their arraignment in court. Maybe. Having realized where they come from the government decided to withdraw their charges. Hahaha! Some people could actually reason from their anal system.

    • Kamalu

      You are right! Nepotism is once more derailing our journey to “change”

    • MamaHannatu

      If that is the case, you would wonder, wouldn’t you, why dasuki, zakzaky and many other northerners are still incarcerated!

  • Cheta God

    What do you expect when all the heads of Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as well of the Police, DSS, SSS etc are Northern Mohammedans. That is why the Daura mafia is trying to ensure that the Acting CJ is not confirmed. What is impunity if I may ask?
    It is a pity that our Jagaban led us into all these. The VP is a toothless bull dog. The elders, including OBJ, Gowon and Itsa Sagay are standing akimbo watching this heartless mafia raping the country. Like in the case of Abacha, God Almighty will deliver us. Amen