Graft: Sylva Asks Court to Dismiss EFCC’s Fresh 50-count Charge

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Former Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva on Thursday, prayed an Abuja Federal High Court to quash 50 fresh charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The commission re-arraigned Sylva after two courts had earlier dismissed the charges of money laundering preferred against him by the commission.
At Thursday’s sitting, Sylva’s counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged the court to set aside the fresh charges against his client on the ground that two courts had earlier dismissed them.
“He cannot be re-arraigned on the same fact, same event and same investigation.
“We are challenging the jurisdiction of this court to hear the charges against the accused person. We urge the court to decline jurisdiction,’’ Fagbemi argued.
The EFCC counsel‎, Mr Rotimi Jacob, in his objection to the case, told the court that the charge before it was different from the one earlier dismissed by the court in June.
Jacob argued that the charge had been expanded to 50 from the 42-count charge that was dismissed by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the same court.
“The motion asking for the dismissal of the charges is misconceived. What the court should look at in criminal matter is the constitution and the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA),” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on June 1 struck out the earlier charge following EFCC’s application for withdrawal.
Similarly, another judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on June 10, also dismissed one of the two charges earlier brought against the accused on the ground that it amounted to an abuse of court process.
Dissatisfied with the two judgments, EFCC re-arraigned Sylva on the ground that it was premature to dismiss the case, since the accused persons had yet to take their pleas before the courts.
In the fresh 50-count charge, Sylva is charged alongside Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, and Samuel Ogbuku.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, the trial judge, adjourned the case untill a yet-to-be communicated date in August after hearing the arguments of the counsel to parties in the suit.

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