The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, has discharged and acquitted former Senate president, Adolphus Wabara, and two others of allegations of bribery levelled against them by the federal government in 2005.
The court presided over by S.E Aladetoyinbo in its ruling seen by PREMIUM TIMES, said the prosecution lacked witnesses to prosecute the defendants: Mr Wabara, and the two other former senators, Ibrahim Abdulazeez and John Mbata.
Mr Aladetoyinbo, therefore, discharged the three defendants in pursuant to Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJA) Act 2015.
Meanwhile, two other defendants, Garba Matazu and a professor, Fabian Osuji, who were listed in the suit: FCT/HC/CR/31/2005 filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) were not present in the court when the trio were discharged.
According to Mr Aladetoyinbo, following four adjournments, the prosecutors in the matter, which has been pending since 2005 “could not raise witnesses to prosecute the case”.
He stated that “with the prosecutors running into a brick wall (they) applied to withdraw the charge.”.
Mr Aladetoyinbo said that following the failure of the prosecutor to produce witnesses, each of the counsel to the defendants urged the court to discharge and acquit the defendants under Section 355 of the ACJA, 2015 which states that: “Where a complainant at any time before a final order is made in a case satisfies the court that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw his complaint, the court may permit him to withdraw the complaint and shall thereupon acquit the defendant.”
The court further held: The provision of this Section ACJA, 2015 is tantamount to discharge and acquittal which will enable the defendant to plead altra for acquit in future.
“Since the prosecutor claimed that the witnesses are no more available and this matter had been pending since 2005, the court will grant the request of defence counsel. The three Defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted under Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.”