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Government & Politics

FG charges Supreme Court registrar, others with diversion of N2.2bn

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The Federal Government on Thursday charged the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ahmed Saleh, and two other employees of the apex court with nine counts, including diversion of N2.2bn belonging to the court.

Saleh is among those shortlisted for final consideration by the National Judicial Council to succeed the outgoing Secretary of the council, Mr. Danladi Halilu.

Saleh, alongside Muhammed Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal, are also accused of receiving gratifications totalling N74.4m from private contractors providing services to the Supreme Court between 2009 and 2016.

When the date of their arraignment is fixed, the accused persons will be facing nine counts of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by allegedly diverting N2.2bn belonging to the apex court and receiving gratification as public officers.

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation filed the charges marked FCT/HC/CR/13/2016 before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama on Thursday.

The allegations leading to the filing of the charges on Thursday is believed to have been unearthed by the recent raid by the operatives of the Department of State Services on the homes of some judges, including two of them belonging to the Supreme Court bench, and some offices at the apex court complex.

Our correspondent also learnt that following the Thursday’s development, the Federal Government will soon approach the court to file charges against some of the arrested judges.

The Supreme Court employees allegedly diverted the sum of N2.2bn belonging to the apex court and received the N74.4m gratification between 2009 and 2016.

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The contractors from whom they allegedly received the gratification are Willysdave Ltd., Welcon Nig. Ltd., Dean Musa Nig. Ltd., Ababia Ventures Ltd. and MBR Computers Ltd.

The three Supreme Court employees named in the first charge are accused of conspiracy criminal breach of trust contrary to section 315 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under the same section, by diverting the sum of N2.2bn belonging to the Supreme Court.

The accused persons allegedly deposited same into personal account 2027642863 domiciled in United Bank for Africa Plc.

They allegedly conspired among themselves contrary to Section 96 of the Penal Code Act 2004 and punishable under Section 97 of the same Act to commit the illegal act of diverting the N2.2bn belonging to the apex court.

The prosecution alleged in counts three to nine that the accused, between 2009 and 2016, received gratification of N10m from Willysdave Ltd., N8m (in two tranches of N6m and N2.4m) from Welcon Nig. Ltd., N2.4m; N16m from Dean Musa Nig. Ltd.; N19m from Ababia Ventures Ltd. and N21m from MBR Computers.

The offences of taking gratification by public officers are said to be contrary to Section 10 (a) (i) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission Act 2000.

They are said to be punishable under the same section of the Act.


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