By Davidson Iriekpen
The Inspector-General of Police (IG) last Friday, withdrew the seven-count criminal charge filed against a Managing Director of Mainstreet Bank Registrars, Mr. Oluwadare Akingbola, and five others before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Others listed in the criminal charge alongside Akingbola are: the Registrarâ€™s Chairman, Sulaiman Adedokun; Adegbami Adegoke Elijah; Patrick Okoh; Dauda Taiwo Oluwasshola and Olufemi Charles Olanihun.
In the charge marked FHC/L/189c/2017, police alleged that all the accused persons and other still at large had sometimes in the month of January 2017, at the Registrarsâ€™ office located at 2a, Gbagada Expressway, Anthony Village, conspired among themselves to launder the sum of N760 million, which was obtained through unlawful activity.
Akingbola and other names in the charge were also alleged to have between February and December 2016, stole the sum of N280 million, belonging to Mainstreet Bank Registrars Limited.
The third person names in the charge, Adegoke Adegbami Elijah, was alleged to have received the said money which the police said he knew to have been stolen.
The offences, the police prosecutor, Mr. Henry Obiazi, said were contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a), 7(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences 2006, and sections 516, 390, 390(9) and 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, which was fixed for the arraignment of the suspectâ€™s, the prosecutor, Obiazi, informed the court presided over by Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, that the Inspector-General of Police had instructed the prosecution to return the case file.Â Obiazi told the court that the IGâ€™s decision was sequel to a letter received from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), whom he said wanted to reassign the matter for reinvestigation.Â Obiazi also told the court that the decision of the IG was brought pursuant to section 108(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He therefore urged the court to withdraw the charge against the suspects, pending when IG will order for the suspectsâ€™ prosecution.
In the same vein, lawyer to Akingbola and others, Mr. E. Udeh, told the court that prior to the withdrawal of the charge against his clients, he had written a letter to court to strike out the charge for being defective, since the prosecutionÂ failed to attach proof-of-evidence with charge.
Udeh cited several authorities to support his call for striking out the charge against his clients.
Satisfied with the submissions of the prosecution and defence teams, the judge, Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, struck out the charge against all the suspects.