Alleged N1.1bn fraud: ICPC withdraws charge against ex-Custom boss, Dikko

Alleged N1.1bn fraud: ICPC withdraws charge against ex-Custom boss, Dikko

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — The Independent Corrupt Practices and different associated offences Commission, ICPC, on Wednesday, withdrew the N1.1billion fraud cost it entered towards the previous Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Abdullahi Dikko and two others.

The different defendants within the withdrawn cost are a former Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in command of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, Garba Makarfi and a lawyer, Umar Hussaini,

The anti-graft company had within the cost marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/21/2019, alleged that the previous Customs boss and his co-defendants, induced the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, to pay over N1.1bn into the account of Capital Law Office owned by the third defendant, as a refundable “completion security deposit” for the acquisition of 120 models of duplexes as residential lodging for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.

It alleged that Hussaini subsequently distributed the cash into numerous different financial institution accounts, and was rewarded with the sum of $three million for his effort.

Trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on February 17, issued a bench warrant for Dikko to be arrested and produced earlier than the court docket for his arraignment.

The trial Judge equally directed the prosecution to determine the declare by counsel to the ex-Custom boss that his shopper was hospitalized in London.

She held that execution of the arrest warrant needs to be suspended ought to the ICPC verify that Dikko was critically ailing as claimed and in London hospital, however contradiction within the deal with that was written on the medical report that was forwarded to the court docket.

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The trial decide expressed her displeasure that for the reason that cost was filed earlier than the court docket, the defendant, repeatedly did not make himself accessible for trial.

Meanwhile, on the resumed continuing on Wednesday, ICPC’s lawyer, E. A. Sogunle, relied on part 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, and made an oral software to withdraw the cost.

Sogunle advised the court docket that the Commission was unable to arrest Dikko regardless of the bench warrant that was issued towards him.

He mentioned: “My lord, on the final adjourned date, the first defendant (Dikko) was conspicuously absent and the court-mandated the prosecution to research his whereabouts.

“In our effort to do that, we wrote to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), who replied that they haven’t any file of the first defendant both travelling in or outdoors of Nigeria between January 2020 and until date.

“In the circumstances, now we have filed an affidavit of compliance with the court docket’s directive that we discover out his whereabouts. This affidavit is to point out the steps now we have taken to date.

“We don’t wish to clog the court docket’s docket with this matter. We are satisfied that the first defendant is a fugitive from legislation. We are taking each steps to apprehend him. When we try this, we’ll carry him earlier than the court docket.

”In the circumstance, we want to withdraw the cost, pursuant to Section 108 of ACJA, with out prejudice to every time he’s apprehended”.

The software was not opposed by Dikko’s crew of attorneys led by Mr. Solomon Akuma, SAN.

Consequently, Justice Ojukwu dismissed the cost.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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