Shock as FG withdraws ex-Minister’s bribery charge

By Aiyeku Timothy March 8, 2016 17:15

Shock as FG withdraws ex-Minister’s bribery charge

In a twist that seems to be a victory for the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, the federal government has withdrawn the two-count charge of non-declaration of assets and bribe for contracts to the tune of N70 million filed against him.

The federal government later filed a fresh one-count charge of non-declaration of assets against the former Minister.

The amendment will now have a number of the original counts dropped from four to one, thereby eliminating the charges that have to do with the acceptance of N70 million bribe by the ex-Minister.

The new count charge retained only one out of the two counts bordering on false assets declaration. ‎

Lead prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Diri, pointed out to the Danladi Umar-led CCT on Tuesday that the amended charge was dated March 7, 2016, but filed on March 8, stating that the amended charge was filed in consonant with the provisions of section 214 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Recall, that the CCT had been forced to severally adjourn the case against Orubebe, as the federal government failed to produce witnesses against the former Minister.

However, the new charge has been accepted by the tribunal while the old charges were struck out as there was no opposition of the amendment from the lead defense counsel, Selekowei Larry, SAN.

Orubebe, however, pleaded not guilty to the new charge on Tuesday.

Related: Prosecution caught pants down in Orubebe case

Counsel to the federal government, told the tribunal on Tuesday that he had three proposed prosecution witnesses and was willing to call them in one day. He later sought an adjournment to open the prosecution’s case.

The case is fixed for April 7, for further hearing.

Elder Orubebe was initially arraigned on November 8, 2015.

The former Minister was the agent for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the 2015 general elections, where he interrupted the coalition of results as he protested that the elections were rigged.