The court said the evidences provided by EFCC could not stand.
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday discharged and acquitted the seven persons accused of a N787 million fraud at the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC.
Four UBEC directors, an American contractor, and two companies were deemed complicit in the alleged fraud.
The court said the witnesses and evidences provided by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC before the court lacked credibility.
The judge, Adamu Bello, said no reasonable tribunal will convict the accused on such evidence.
Out of 64 charges filed by the EFCC, 23 had been struck out by the court due to lack of evidence to prove the essential elements, leaving 41.
The court further struck out the remaining 41, saying that there was no conclusive evidence as the case was based on mere suspicion which cannot be a basis of criminal conviction.
Mr. Bello said no wrongdoing was established by the prosecution. He noted that the wrong persons were being accused before the court and that UBEC should take responsibility for their own act and not the accused persons, adding that there was no nexus between the award of contract and the bid evaluation committee.
“The wrong persons are before the court and thereby they are discharged and acquitted. A serious investigator would have followed up on claims but disappointingly, they (EFCC) did not extend their investigation,” Mr. Bello said.
The anti-graft body was prosecuting the four UBEC directors, an American contractor, Inter-market USA LLC and Inter-market Nigeria for fraudulently manipulating a government contract. The contract was given to Inter-market, USA LLC, and Alex Cozma in order to defraud the Nigerian government.
The accused persons were first arraigned on May 18, 2009 on a 63-count charge that borders on fraudulent inducement, criminal conspiracy and subversion of due processes in the award of the contract.
The four freed UBEC directors are a former Executive Secretary of the agency, Bridget Sokan, Molkat Mutfwang, Andrew Ekpunobi, and Michael Aule. The other accused are Intermarkets USA; Intermarkets Nigeria Limited, and Alexander Cozman, the American contractor.
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