By Kayode Adeoti
The former Administrative Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC), in Kwara State, Christian Nwosu will today continue his trial with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He will be appearing before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the Kwara State High Court on charges of accepting gratification.
Recall that Nwosu was charged alongside Tijani Bashir, as well as former minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke who is still at large and one Yisa Adedoyin, who was earlier convicted, after pleading guilty.
Nwosu had earlier pleaded guilty to receiving N30 million bribe to rig the 2015 general election results.
EFCC had accused the defendants of conspiring to directly take possession of N264,880.000 which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of an unlawful act, which is gratification.
The anti-graft agency also said the other defendants made cash payment of N70,050,000 to Adedoyin, which exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.
Bashir was accused of indirectly taking possession of and retaining N164,880,000 which he reasonably ought to have known forms part of gratification as well as indirectly retaining N30 million, which EFCC said was part of the proceeds of an unlawful act: criminal misappropriation.
The prosecution also said he indirectly concealed the sum of N30million.
The alleged offences were committed on March 27 and April 7, 2015.
EFCC had earlier closed its case after calling its witnesses.
Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo had said he would not call any further witness despite the amendment to the charges.
Before the re-arraignment, Nwosu’s lawyer had opposed the move on the basis that it would further delay the case.
He said the prosecution did not respond to his no-case client’s submission despite being served.
He argued that the amendment would defeat the object of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 which provides for speedy dispensation of cases.
But, Oyedepo argued that the law allows the prosecution to amend charges at any time before judgment is delivered.
Ruling, Justice Mohammed Idris held that EFCC was at liberty to amend its charge at any time before judgement.
“The law says ‘any time before judgment.’ It does not specify the time. I accept the amended charges,” the judge ruled.
After the re-arraignment, he allowed the defendants to remain on bail earlier granted them.
The judge thereafter adjourned until March 29 for adoption of written addresses in the no-case submission.