FG FORMALLY WITHDRAWS CASE AGAINST RIBADU
As exclusively reported in the Daily Sun edition of March 29, 2010, the Federal Government yesterday formally withdrew the criminal charges against former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Daily Sun had reported that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan may contest the 2011 presidential election with former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai as running mate.
According to the report, the arrangement being plotted by the camp of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo would also see the return of Ribadu as Special Adviser on Anti-corruption to Jonathan.
The power brokers inched closer to the reported plot yesterday with the withdrawal of the criminal suit against Nuhu Ribadu at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.
Consequent upon the withdrawal of the charges, the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muritala Sani Adebayo, in his ruling, struck out suit, and vacated the warrant of arrest earlier issued by the tribunal against Ribadu.
Justice Adebayo held that the application by the Attorney General of the Federation [AGF], asking that the charge be struck out was in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
He said the application was in line with 'Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution which no doubt confers extensive powers on the Federal Attorney General to withdraw criminal trial. The application is withdrawn and hereby struck out.'
Besides, the tribunal in its ruling said the action of the AGF was in consonance with Section 24 (1). When read together with Section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Code, they are sufficient grounds to strike out the charges as prayed.
Earlier, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Dr. Joshua Olukayode Olatoke, had applied for the withdrawal of the matter, based on the powers conferred on the AGF and Minister of Justice, by the Constitution to withdraw criminal charges against anybody, before judgment is entered in the matter.
Mr. Femi Falana, counsel to Ribadu, said he had no objection, but that on December 4, 2009, he produced the assets declaration forms submitted by Ribadu at the Code of Conduct Bureau, after which he filed a motion for the striking out of the matter on March 3, 2010.
He admitted, however, that the application filed by the AGF seeking to withdraw the matter, took precedence over his motion seeking to strike out the suit, but said government was not doing his client any favour by withdrawing the cases.
The Bureau had in the charge alleged that Ribadu failed to declare his assets as a public officer while in office as EFCC chairman. The agency alleged that Ribadu therefore, violated the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act in respect of asset declaration.?
The application to withdraw the charges was made pursuant to the inherent powers of the Federal Government to stop proceedings against anyone under trial for any offence. ??The tribunal had issued a warrant of arrest for the former EFCC boss, for failing to appear before it to clarify issues relating to his asset declaration before assuming office as EFCC chairman.
Ribadu did not appear before the Bureau, claiming his life was under threat.