An Abuja High Court In Maitama, on Tuesday discharged former Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Steven Orosanye, of all the seven-count charges brought against him by the Federal government.
Justice Olasumbo Goodluck upheld the defendant’s no case submission while ruling on the application filed by Oronsaye. Ruling on the matter, Justice Goodluck noted that the no-case submission filed by the defendant raised issues with colouration of preliminary objection. According to her, a party could challenge the competence of jurisdiction of the court at any time but with the ACJ Act, could not be entertained at the interlocutory stage. She submitted that the court was precluded from taking objection on the ground of defective charges at interlocutors stage.
While noting that Section 305 of the ACJA made provisions for no-case submission, Justice Goodluck, however, declared that in determining such application, the Court had to consider whether the essential element of the case has been proved; whether there was evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence charged with and whether the evidence so far laid was such that no reasonable court or tribunal could convict on it. She further stated that the court could also use any other ground in which a prima facie case had not been established against the defendant for him to be called upon to answer in considering such application.
The judge stated that though there was copious evidence from some of the witnesses called by prosecution that Orosanye collected money from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which was entrusted to him, she was unable to hold that he converted same to his personal use.
She added that there was no evidence laid before the court regarding the funds collected from CBN and ONSA being used for his personal benefit. She noted the prosecution ought to have called one Sunday Odey, Personal Assistant to Orosanye and Friday Ololo, both of whom were withdrawing from the Access Bank, where he deposited the funds, to testify for it. According to Justice Goodluck, the prosecution had failed to prove to ingredients in S311 of the Penal Code to establish that the defendant was a public officer as of the time he headed the committee.topics from