Court dismisses N1.1bn fraud charges against ex-customs CG, Dikko

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed all the fraud charges against former Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Abdullahi Dikko, and two others by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in a ruling on Wednesday, dismissed the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/21/2019 in view of the oral application by ICPC’s lawyer, E. A. Sogunle to withdraw the charge under Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Mr Sogunle told the court that despite a bench warrant issued on Dikko, who has not attended court since the charge was filed early last year, the prosecution has been unable to arrest him and produce him in court.

Dikko was named in a fraud charge with former Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, Garba Makarfi, and a lawyer, Umar Hussaini.

They were accused of inducing the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, to pay the sum of N1,100, 952,380.96 into the account of Capital Law Office as a refundable “completion security deposit” for the purchase of 120 units of duplexes as residential accommodation for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Prosecution had accused Hussaini of distributing the said sum into various other bank accounts allegedly at the instance of the Dikko.

Hussaini was also accused of receiving the sum of $3 million as reward in the deal.

While Makarfi was in court, Hussaini was absent and his counsel said he could not make his way to Abuja from Bauchi in view of the current restriction of inter-state. movement.

The trial judge, Justice Ojukwu, after listening to submissions of counsel in the matter, dismissed the charge against Dikko, since the prosecution’s application for withdrawal of the said charge was not opposed by the defendants.

The judge had, on February 17, 2020, upon an application by the prosecution, issued a bench warrant for Dikko’s arrest and production for the purpose of his arraignment and further ordered the prosecution to ascertain the claim by Dikko’s lawyer that he was on admission in a London hospital.

It was in response to the court’s order that the prosecution ascertain whether or not Dikko was in a London hospital that Sogunle reported yesterday that the NIS informed his agency that the ex-custom boss has not travelled out of the country since this year.

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