An Abuja High Court has dismissed all corruption charges brought against former speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankola and his deputy, Usman Bayero Nafada claiming the duo has got no case to answer.
Justice Suleimon Belgore of Abuja High Court trivialised the charges and claimed that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was inconsistent with its charges against the former helmsmen in the lower House of the Nigerian parliament
According to Justice Belgore, EFCC had not brought a solid case against the duo and ruled that they have no cases to answer.
The controversial ruling has set free the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Usman Bayero Nafada of complicity in the N40 billion loan scam and abuse of trust and gross rape against the moral and social fabric of the nation.
Justice Belgore told a bewildered courtroom late Monday that the actions of the former speaker of the house who used the account of house to obtain personal bank loans were morally wrong but not criminal.
He however passed over the blames of the gross abuses on the House of Representatives Clerk, claiming the offences should be made against him (the Clerk)
According to the Judge, the offences of misappriation of public funds should be heaped on the clerk and not the former speaker of the house and his deputy.
EFCC however claimed that since his arrest, Bankole had refused to respond to interviews and therefore the agency were not surprised at the ruling.
Throughout his arrest and incarceration, the former speaker apart from refusing to be interrogated had persistently remained unbowed and unshaken.
Bankole looted the accounts of the House of Representatives as speaker using the public account to borrow money from the banks, which were eventually laundered to buy choice properties at giveaway prices.
Delivering his ruling, the Presiding Judge, Justice Suleiman Belgore said the duo have no case to answer.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday told the court that Messrs Bankole, and Nafada, are culpable of mismanaging N38 billion and have a case of fraud and criminal breach to answer.
The EFCC’s submission was made in response to an application for a no-case submission filed by Messrs Bankole and Nafada’s counsels on the ground that the EFCC had no sufficient evidence to prosecute their clients.
The first count charge levelled against the former speaker and his then deputy reads: “That you, Dimeji Sabur Bankole and Usman Bayero Nafada, being Principal Officers of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on or about the 12th day of May, 2010, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did agree amongst yourselves to commit a felony, to wit: criminal breach of trust by agreeing to approve the allowances and/or “running costs” of Members of the House of Representatives in violation of the approved Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 97(1) of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under Section 315 of the same Penal Code Act”.
Source: SR, Channelstv