Former Governor of Nasarawa State Alhaji Akwe Doma, the former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Timothy Anjide and former Accountant General Dauda Egwa have prayed a Federal High court in Lafia to discharge and acquit them in the money laundering charges files against them by the federal government.
The Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a 10 count charge of money laundering on the defendants.
After nearly seven years of legal fireworks, the prosecution brought its case to a close, after it called nine 9 witnesses and tendered several documents majorly payment vouchers issued during the tenure of the defendants in the performance of their lawful duties.
It would be recalled that the prosecution witnesses during cross-examination admitted that all the payment vouchers were pre & post audited in line with the relevant financial regulations and there was no audit query on any of the vouchers.
Specifically, the 9th prosecution witness who is an operative of the EFCC and was involved in investigation also admitted that none of the alleged funds was traced to the defendants, their family members or any company associated to them.
Consequently, the defendants’ lead counsel, Mr. OLalekan Ojo made a no-case-submission to the trial judge, Justice Agatha Okeke.
A no-case-submission is an application filed by a defendant to show the court that the prosecution has not linked him or her to the commission of the offense contained in the charge.
Arguing the application on March 15, counsel to Akwe Doma, Mr. Ojo submitted that the prosecution had not established a prima-facie case against his client.
According to Ojo, the defendants no case submission was in line with the provisions of Section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act that requires “sufficient evidence” in establishing a prima facie case against the defendants. “We, therefore, submit with respect that up to the close of the case of the prosecution, neither the prosecution through any of its witnesses, (PW1 to PW9) nor by documentary evidence has established any prima facie case of criminal conversion of the alleged sums against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants.
All the prosecution witnesses called, did not in any way link the 1st, 2nd and 3rddefendants to the alleged offence during their tenure as the Governor of Nasarawa State, the secretary to the state government and the accountant-general of Nasarawa State between May 2007 and May, 2011.
“Indeed, PW9 emphatically stated under cross examination, in the proceedings of 28th February, 2017, that none of the funds that are subject of this case was linked or traced to the personal accounts of the defendants or to the accounts of any company connected to the defendants,” Ojo said.
Meanwhile, Justice Okeke adjourned the suit till 27th March 2017 for ruling on the No-case-submission.