PDP Campaign Fund: Court Orders EFCC to Refund N228m within 72 Hours
Justice Stephen Pam of the he Federal High Court Jalingo has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to refund a total sum of N228m it forcefully collected from the trio of former acting governor in the state Sani Danladi, former minister of labour and productivity, Senator Joel Ikenya and ex-Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Mark Useni.
Sani was formerly in PDP and now APC governorship candidate in the state.
THe judge insisted that the order must be complied with within 72 hours.
The defendants were charged to court by the EFCC on allegations of conspiracy and misappropriating the sum of N450m PDP presidential campaign funds in 2015.
The case filed was filed by the EFCC against Ikenya, Useni and Danladi.
In the judgement which lasted for several hours, Justice Pam held that the EFCC failed to substantiate its claims against the defendants.
The court also held that the EFCC could not furnish the court with substantive evidence against the defendants and urged the Commission to desist from infringing on the rights of innocent citizens.
“The prosecution did not provide this court with concrete evidence to nail the defendants.
“The EFCC is hereby ordered to refund the sum of N228m which the Commission received from the defendants.”
Senator Ikenya applauded the court for allowing the rule of law to prevail in the matter, describing the court as the last hope of common man.
One of the defence counsels, Ibrahim Effiong, said the ruling was an indication that the rule of law has come to bear.
“The entire charges were abuse of court process. By this ruling, the EFCC should learn to allow the rule of law to prevail.
The EFCC had in 2017, accused Danladi of allegedly collecting N450 million from ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, in the build-up to the 2015 general election.
All three men were discharged and acquitted
Meanwhile, the EFCC has promised to appeal the ruling of Justice Stephen Pam.
In a statement by the acting spokesperson, Tony Orilade, EFCC stated that: “Based on findings during the investigation, the Commission had charged Danladi along with Joel Ikenya and Mark Useni to Court, for conspiracy and violation of financial regulations.
“They were alleged to have collected the said sum as part of monetary inducement, to influence the outcome of the 2015 general election.
“It is worth noting, that on January 25, 2019 the EFCC secured the conviction of two former staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who were charged to court, for similar offences. They were alleged to have partaken in the “sharing” of several sums of money, in the build-up to the general election, without going through a financial institution.
“The decision of Justice Pam, to therefore rule that the charges against Danladi, and the others “lacked merit”, is indeed, worrisome and tragic.
“The Commission has therefore resolved to appeal the ruling, because the EFCC believes that the judgment is a travesty of justice.”
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Report By: PRNigeria.com