By Davidson Iriekpen

An Ikeja High Court has struck out the criminal charges preferred against former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Chidi Duru, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the federal government.

In a ruling, Justice Atenuke Ipaye said the court was striking out the case following an application by the EFCC for its withdrawal.

In her “enrolment of order,” Justice Ipaye ruled: “Upon this cause coming up before this honourable court on November 11, 2016 for hearing, pursuant to the application to withdraw criminal charge dated 07/09/16 and filed 08/09/16 by the complainant in Suit No: ID/2039/2015, it is hereby ordered as follows:

“That the criminal charges in Suit No: ID/2039C/2015, as disclosed on the information dated 05/10/15, be and is hereby struck out without prejudice.”

The EFCC had applied for the withdrawal of charges against Duru, in pursuant to Section 73 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of 2011.

In an application, Ayokunle O. Fayanju, counsel to the EFCC, notified the court of intention to withdraw the case.

The application dated September 7, 2016, stated: “Let all parties concerned attend before the judge at the High Court of Lagos State …. sitting  at Ikeja Judicial Division at the time specified in the margin thereof on the hearing of an application on the part of the above-named complainant/applicant praying the honourable court for the following orders:

“An order granting leave to the prosecution to withdraw charge no: ID/2039C/2015 against the defendant/respondent (Chidi Duru) and for such order or further orders as the honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

The EFCC had deposed to an affidavit in support of the application for the withdrawal of the charges.

The affidavit deposed to by Fayanju, prosecutor with the EFCC stated:  “That the information against the defendant was filed before this honourable court by the EFCC sometime in 2015; that upon filing the criminal information, a preliminary objection was filed by the defendant/applicant dated 5 February 5, 2016.

“That I know as a fact that parties have adopted their processes and are awaiting the court’s ruling in respect of the said preliminary objection; That the prosecution team in the Directorate of Legal and Prosecution of the complainant/applicant has viewed the case file together with the criminal information before the honourable court.

“That as a result of the depositions contained in the above, the commission has deemed it fit to withdraw the criminal information against the defendant/respondent; that withdrawing the charges against the defendant/respondent will meet the interest of justice in the case.”

The EFCC had said it got involved in the Duru’s case because of the petition by some shareholders of First Guarantee Pension.