Court dismisses N19bn fraud case against Sylva

It was gathered that a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the N19.2bn fraud charges instituted against a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva.

This came nine days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission dropped six counts of N2.45bn against Sylva.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed’s ruling on a notice of preliminary objection filed by Sylva dismissing the charges as an abuse of court process  brought to an end all pending EFCC cases against ‎the former governor.

The judge held on Wednesday that the charges instituted against Sylva by the EFCC were  an abuse of court process since they were based on the same set of transactions involved in the N2.45bn charges that were recently dropped against the accused person.

The court also held that the EFCC attempted to interfere with the administration of justice by withdrawing the N2.45bn charges after the court had heard and adjourned for ruling Sylva’s notice of preliminary objection complaining of the multiplicity of the charges filed against him by the EFCC.

‎‎It also held that if EFCC was ready to prosecute the accused person, it ought to withdraw the charges that were before it since they were the ones filed after the one before Justice Chukwu.

The earlier withdrawal of the N2.45bn charges and the Wednesday’s ‎ruling withing nine days brought to an abrupt end, two cases that had been pending since 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Sylva was arraigned for the N19.2bn charges in 2012 alongside Nide Francis Okonkwo, Gbenga Balogun and Samuel Ogbuku.

They were alleged to have used three companies – Marlin Maritime Ltd, Eat Catering Services Ltd, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Ltd – to move the N19.2bn from the treasury of Bayelsa State government between 2009 and 2012, under false pretence of using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of the state government workers.

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