Promoting Good Governance.

Appeal Court Orders Former IG, Ehindero To Face Trial

A Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered a former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero back to the High Court to face criminal trial over alleged complicity in the misappropriation of about N557 million belonging to the Nigerian Police Force.

Ehindero, alongside a former commissioner of Police in charge of budget, John Obaniyi, were earlier arraigned before an Abuja High Court on a six-count charge preferred against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

ICPC lawyer, Paul Bassi, had told the court that according to investigations, the accused persons diverted the sum of N300million out of N557million donated to the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, by the Bayelsa State government under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The N557million was donated to the Police Force for the procurement of arms, ammunition and riot control equipment.

The commission said it traced N300million of the amount which was diverted to a fixed deposit account at Wema Bank Plc where it had already yielded an interest of N9.8 million and another N200 million in a fixed deposit account at Intercontinental Bank Plc where it has generated an interest of N6.5 million.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were consequently admitted to bail following which they filed notices of preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court as well as the leave granted the ICPC to file charges against them.

They also prayed the court to quash the six-count charge preferred against them by ICPC.

However, in his ruling on the objection, the trial judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, dismissed the application and asked the accused to go ahead and face their trial.

Not satisfied the accused persons approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the lower court.

They urged the court to determine whether the Abuja High Court had jurisdiction to entertain the charge against them wherein the allegation against him borders on the revenue of the Federation vis-a-vis the provision of Section 251 (1) (a) – (f) of the 1999 Constitution,

Ehindero and his counterpart also sought to know if there is a prima facie case linking him to the charge preferred against him by the prosecution, and whether in view of the constitutional powers of the Attorney General of the Federation AGF enshrined under Section 174(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) , Bassi, or any other officers of the ICPC, could validly prosecute him without a fiat of the AGF.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday resolved all three issues raised by the appellant in favour of the prosecution and consequently ordered that the matter be sent back to the Abuja High Court for expeditious hearing.

The Appeal Court also affirmed the decision of the High Court in Charge No. FCT/HC/CR/92/2012 where the said High Court ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the criminal complaint brought against the accused person.

No date has been fixed for the trial.

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