Court absolves lawyer, council official of N167.8m fraud charge
A Lagos State High Court, Tafawa Balewa Square, has struck out N167, 886,591,60 theft charge preferred against Oyo State local government council official, Badmus Adesina and a lawyer, Ibukunoluwa Konu by the police.
Justice E.O. Ashade struck out the charge marked LD/11439C/2020 and discharged Adesina and Konu, following a report by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), which absolved them of the offence.
Police had claimed that the defendants stole N167, 886,591,60 from the Estate of the Late Godfrey Konu.
It alleged that they conspired to commit the offences of stealing, forgery and making of documents without authority between 2009 and 2019.
It was further claimed that the defendants forged a letter of attestation of marriage certificate purportedly issued by the Ibadan South East Local Government Council of Oyo State and a letter titled, ‘Marriage Certificate’ issued by a magistrate court in Ibadan.
But in a legal advice dated November 23, 2020, the DPP, Mrs A.O.Adeyemi stated that no prima facie case had been established against the defendants.
The report stated that what transpired between the defendants was strictly official and there were documents showing that Adesina applied for the certified true copy of the marriage certificate.
The DPP noted that no document had been forged, adding that the issuance of the letter of attestation by Adesina was part of his duties.
Following the DPP’s advice, Justice Ashade struck out the charges against the defendants.
Ruling on the defendants’ application for discharge following the DPP’s advice, Justice Ashade said the defendants deserve to be freed since the prosecution did not oppose the application.
The court also pointed out that the power of the police to prosecute is subject to the decision of the Attorney General, in whose office is that of the DPP.
“In view of the fact that there is no opposition to the defendant’s application to be discharged and the position of law in the matter, I therefore, order that the charge against the defendants is hereby struck out for non-prosecution and the defendants are hereby discharged,” the court held.
Although the counsel holding watching brief on behalf of Tosin Josephine Konu (nominal complainant), frowned at the decision and complained of not being served with the legal advice, the court held that the nominal complainant is only entitled to be seen and not to be heard.
The court also reprimanded the nominal complainant for recording court proceedings and ordered that the recordings be deleted from all their gadgets under the supervision of the court clerk.
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