Nigeria: Court Dismisses N38bn Fraud Case Against Bankole, Nafada

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has just dismissed the corruption charges brought against former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and his deputy, Usman Nafada, saying they have no case to answer.

He stated that the anti-graft body had not established any prima facie against the accused for any act of fraud.

Justice Suleiman Belgore ruled that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had not brought a solid case against the duo and ruled that they have no case to answer, saying the offences of misappropriation of public funds brought against them should be blamed on the clerk of the House and not the former House leaders.

He also said the action of the former speaker, who used the account of house to obtain personal bank loans, were morally wrong but not criminal.

The EFCC had on Monday told the court that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Messrs Bankole, and Nafada, have a case to answer in the case of N38 billion fraud and criminal breach of trust instituted against them.

This submission was made in response to an application for a no-case submission filed by Bankole and Nafada’s counsels on the ground that the EFCC had no sufficient evidence to prosecute their clients.

The duo of Bankole and Nafada were arraigned on Monday, June 13, 2011, on a 17- count charge of criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and theft.

The EFCC, in a counter application, filed through its counsel, Festus Keyamo, dismissed the former legislators’ application as yet another ploy to stall the trial. He further argued that the accused persons were not charged for “over-spending but misappropriation of funds.”

The accused allegedly shared the loan to members without the consent and approval of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government, 2009.

The alleged offences are contrary to sections 97(1), 286 and 311 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990, and punishable under sections 287 and 315 of the same Penal Code Act.

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