The Director of Public Prosecution counsel of the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday, hinted that the Federal Government has filed a fresh 20 count-charge against suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, before an Abuja High Court.

Meanwhile, Emefiele’s lead counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, said he was not aware of the alleged fresh charge, as it had not been served on the defense.

These disclosures were made after Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, adjourned till August 17, 2023, to rule, after listening to arguments of Abubakar and Daudu, on FG’s plan to withraw the two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms, for which Emefiele is currently being prosecuted by the Department of State Service, DSS.

Justice Oweibo had on the last day the matter came up adjourned till yesterday, to hear all pending applications, including the one by Emefiele seeking to stop FG from further prosecuting him on the two-count charge of illegal possession of fire arms until the DSS obeyed pending orders in the matter, while FG had asked for a stay of proceedings, pending its appeal, challenging the bail granted Emefiele.

It will be recalled that Justice Oweibo had on July 25, admitted Emefiele to bail and ordered his remand in prison custody until he perfects his bail, but was rearrested by the DSS.

When the matter came up, yesterday, the DP, made an oral application to withdraw the charges against Emefiele.

He argued that the application was informed by new facts and circumstances that needed further investigations and urged the court to grant the application.

But Emefiele’s counsel, Daudu, opposed the oral application, arguing that because the government was in disobedience of the court’s order granting Emefiele bail, its application could not be taken.

He argued: “There is no application before the court, there is no doubt and I am not disputing the facts that the state can withdraw any charge before the court against any person.

“We have an application that the AGF has flouted the court order, which said the respondent/ defendant should be remanded in prison after my client was granted bail but they are not obeying the order.

The court granted order of substituted service to be published in three national dailies and after they brought an application of stay of execution of the bail and we say unless they obey that order, section 174 (1) can only be by nolle prosequi.”

The judge adjourned till August 17, for its ruling.

Meanwhile, speaking with journalists after the proceedings, the DPP said: “We are withdrawing the charge because of emerging facts.”

On allegation that Emefiele had been denied access to his lawyer and relatives, he said: “It is not true, he has unhindered access to his lawyers and relatives and his friends at all times.

On the issue of disobedience to court order, he said: “We are not in disobedience of court order. When the court rendered it’s ruling granting the defendant, it was in two legs.

He was granted bail and to be remanded in the custody of the prison, pending the fulfilment of bail conditions.

“You will agree with me that there are administrative processes and protocols from handing over a detainee from one agency to another and that is what the Department of State Services had to do, and that was what occasioned the delay in transferring him.”

Reacting to the alleged charge filed against Emefiele in the Federal Capital Territory, Daudu, SAN, said: “We have not seen the charge and what has not been served on us is fiction. When we see it, we deal with it.

“What is on ground today is the disrespect to the court. That disgraceful incident that all of you witnessed should not be left unattended to and the court fixed today to hear the issues. That disrespect to the court must not be washed away and cannot be wished away.

”Before any step can be taken, including withdrawal of the charge, there is a greater issue. Are the courts to be used like tissue paper, blow your nose in it and throw it away?

“The courts are more than that. We came prepared but they ambushed us with an oral application for withdrawal. There is no difference between withdrawal and nolle prosequi. It’s the Attorney General that exercises the power, one is baptismal name for another.

”The constitution says that before you withdraw, you must be seen to be acting in public interest, in the interest of justice and must not be an abuse of court process.

“I am sorry to say that any other step, including withdrawal, cannot be attended to until that temerity and disgrace shown to the court is dealt with.”


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