Court discharges Steve Oronsaye on alleged N190 million fraud
Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has discharged a former Head of Service of Federation, Steve Oronsaye, of the seven-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and diversion of N190 million preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The offence contravened provisions of Section 311 of the Penal Code, punishable under Section 315 of the same Code.
The prosecution called six witnesses to prove its case against Oronsaye and closed its case on November 15, 2016, following which the defendant filed a no-case submission on December 9, 2016 declaring that the prosecution did not establish any case against him to open any defence.
The presiding Justice Goodluck, ruling on the matter yesterday, 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 held that the court was precluded from taking objection on the ground of defective charges at interlocutors’ stage.
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.
This she submitted, was because there was no evidence laid before the court regarding the funds collected from CBN and ONSA being used for his personal benefit.
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.
“I have looked through the case and I am unable to see any justifications for this case.
“There is no need to proceed with the defence. The defendant is hereby discharged,” she declared.