Victory, smiles, cheers, vindication and extra ordinary confidence came the way of Hon Ndudi Godwin Elumelu on Tuesday, March 26, 2012 as Justice Umar Garba of the Federal High Court sitting Maitama Abuja discharged him of a 64 count corruption charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
Hon Elumelu was arrested and charged to court sometime in May 2009 by the EFCC together with some officials of Rural Electrification Agency on allegation of breach of Procurement Act in the award of solar and grid extension projects.
In an application filed recently by his counsel, Ikwueto SAN, seeking the order of the court to quash the charges against Elumelu on the grounds that the charges constitute abuse of court processes, the learned counsel argued that the contracts complained of in the charges have been approved by the Government, executed by the contractors and paid for by the Government. He contended that the Government/Prosecution should not be allowed to approbate and reprobate at the same time. The learned senior counsel also submitted that there was no basis for prosecuting Elumelu since there was nothing in the proof of evidence connecting Elumelu with the alleged offence.
In a land mark ruling delivered on Tuesday, March 26, 2012, Justice Umar Garba held that having gone through the proof of evidence; he came to the conclusion that there was nothing in the proof of evidence connecting Elumelu with the alleged offences.
The judge therefore struck out the charges against Hon. Elumelu and discharged and acquits him from the case. The court remarked that other accused persons can also bring a similar application as each application would be considered on its own merits.
One of the charges against the legislator accused him of using his positions in National Assembly to influence the procurement process to obtain unfair advantage in the award of Solar Electrification projects to Helping HandsInternational Ltd, which contracts were unlawfully awarded from the 2008 Amended Budget of the Rural Electrification Agency(REA) and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 58(4) and punishable under section 58(1) and(5) (a) and (b) of the PublicProcurementAct2007.
Abdul Garu, Judicial correspondents write from Abuja