Alex Enumah in Abuja
An Abuja High Court yesterday set Senator Dino Melaye free from a charge filed against him for allegedly providing false information to the Nigeria Police Force.
Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) discharged the former senator representing Kogi-west from the two-count charge on the grounds that the prosecution was unable to prove allegations in the charge.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had arraigned Melaye on a two- count charge bordering on giving false information to the police.
After the prosecution closed its case, Melaye through his lawyer, Mr Olusegun Jolaawo (SAN) had filed a no-case submission, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove anything against him.
In a ruling, the judge upheld the no-case submission and accordingly dismissed the federal government’s suit.
In count one, “there is no evidence that the defendant gave false information to any person in public service.”
She also described the evidence given by PW1 (Onoja) as “vague”.
Goodluck held that “Neither of the two witnesses elicited evidence on the status of Mohammed Abubaker Audu.”
“Hence, there is lack of evidence on the nature of the status of employment or if at all he is employed not to talk of him being engaged in public service,” she said.
“I am also inclined to allude to the submissions of the defence counsel that there is no statement before the court allegedly made by the defendant to one who is in the public service.
“This being the case, the first ingredients of the offence upon which count one is predicated has not been proved to the court”, the court held.
The court further held that the second element of the count was not proved by the prosecution.
According to Justice Goodluck, the prosecution failed to present the audio recording of the conversation between Melaye and Audu, adding that no audio expert was called to ascertain the identities of the persons in the phone conversation.
She also stated that no staff of Sahara reporters, the online medium, which allegedly released the audio conversation, was called to testify.
The judge also held that no investigative police officer was called to prove that indeed a report was lodged against the defendant.
“In effect, there is no credible and cogent evidence of any Sahara Report’s recording before this court.
“In the light of the fore going consequences, I am of the view and will so hold that the defendant ought to be discharged as there is no reason to convict him in the circumstances.
“He is accordingly discharged on account of the fact that the no-case-submission succeeds” Goodluck held
Maleye was alleged to have in April, 2017, deliberately given false information to police to incriminate the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr. David Onoja, who was then Chief of Staff to Kogi State governor, as masterminding an assassination attempt on him.
Melaye was also alleged to have given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, son of former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, with the intention of harming the reputation of Onoja.