By Olalekan Awojodu
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Monday dismissed the no-case submission filed by the former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako in the N29 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang said that application of the former governor lacks merit and therefore asks him enter his defence.
EFCC is prosecuting the former governor alongside his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd.
They are first, second, sixth and seventh defendants respectively in the trial.
Other defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd as third, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth defendants respectively.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office, and money laundering.
The defendants had filed a no-case submission after the prosecution finished calling its witnesses, urging the court to dismiss the charges against them on the grounds that the prosecution failed to link them to the alleged crimes.
While arguing the application, EFCC had urged the court to dismiss the no case submission that a case has been established against all the defendants while the Defendant want the court to strike out the charges filed against him and his co-defendants.
In his ruling, Abang said he had painstakingly perused the evidence given by the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution and was of the view that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants.
Abang held, “I have calmly, carefully, and painstakingly scrutinized the evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses in chief and under cross-examination including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants.
“I have again carefully and painstakingly considered the evidence of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and the extrajudicial statements of the defendants.
“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all the counsel for the defendants, their written and oral arguments, and the argument of the prosecution in this ruling.
“It is my humble but firm view that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants and they are required to enter their defence immediately.”
The matter has since been adjourned till October 4, October 5, October 7, and October 8 for the defendants to open their case.