Former Governor of Adamawa state, Murtala Nyako has asked Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja to strike out the alleged N29 billion money laundering charge filed against him and others by the federal government.
Nyako, in a no-case submission motion filed by his team of lawyers led by Kanu Agabi (SAN), on behalf of 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants, told Justice Abang that the prosecution has failed to link the defendants with the alleged charge to warrant them entering their defence.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Nyako; his son, Abdulaziz Nyako; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd who are 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants respectively on behalf of the federal government.
Others defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd are 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th defendants respectively.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge, bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako held sway as the governor of Adamawa state.
The anti-graft agency had called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.
Reacting, the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants argued that from the testimonies of the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution, there was no single shred of evidence that suggested even remotely that a case had been made out against them.
They told the court that the charges preferred against them are incompetent and irredeemably bad, thereby rendering the entire trial a nullity, adding that, the prosecution made allegations against persons and companies who were not charged.
“In order to succeed in all the counts, these elements must be proved. These elements cannot be proven behind the back of the companies and individuals against whom the allegations were made, having not been charged.
“The failure to charge these companies and individuals against whom allegations were made in these counts constitute a failure of the prosecution to prove essential elements of the counts.
“Under Sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the failure to prove an essential element of the offence charged is a ground for upholding a submission that the prosecution has not made out a case warranting an answer from the defendants,” they held.
However, at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel to the EFCC, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, told Justice Abang that the commission intended to comprehensively respond to the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants’ no-case submission.
He prayed the court to give him seven days within which to file his responses.
Abang, who gave the prosecution seven days to file and serve their written address in response to the defendants’ no-case submission, said the defendants would be at liberty to file and serve their reply on point of law within seven days.
The judge then adjourned the matter till March 25, 2020 for parties to adopt their written addresses for and in opposition to the defendants’ no-case submission.