The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted to the acquittal of Robert Azibaola, a cousin to the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, who was charged for $40 million fraud.
According to a statement signed by its spokesperson, Tony Orilade, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the commission described Mr Azibaola acquittal as unfortunate.
PREMIUM TIMES on Monday reported how an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court discharged Mr Azibaola of laundering charges filed against him by the Anti-graft agency.
The judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, accused the prosecutor of failing to produce the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki as a witness. Mr Dasuki is in the custody of the State Security Service.
The EFCC had in 2016 filed a seven-count charge against Mr Azibaola, his wife, Stella, and their company, saying that they received $40 million worth of illicit contract from Mr Dasuki.
They were arraigned on June 7, 2016, and were admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million each.
They were re-arraigned on April 27, 2017, on a nine-count amended charge.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution called 10 witnesses and tendered 27 documented evidence against the three parties and closed its case.
Subsequently, Mr Azibaola and One Plus company were ordered to open their defence on the remaining two counts, as Stella’s name was struck off the charge sheet.
He denied diverting money to his personal use.
On February 6, his defence team led by Chris Uche closed its defence after calling two witnesses, including Mr Azibaola, and presenting several documents.
The anti-graft agency also said its legal team would study the judgement and take necessary actions to appeal it.
“Will be studying the judgement thoroughly and will be taking necessary actions to appeal it as we hope that the appellate court shall view the merit of the prosecution and do justice to the case.”
”The EFCC expressed concern that despite the weight of evidence brought before the court and witnesses presented, Justice Dimgba held that, “the prosecution must show directly how the defendant took possession of funds and knew that it forms part of proceeds of corruption,” the statement reads.