A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday discharged and acquitted Hon Saburi Dimeji Bankole, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives following the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prove a 16-count criminal charge filed against him with regards to a N 9 billion contract scam.
While delivering the ruling on the no-case submission filed by Hon Bankole after the prosecution team had called its witnesses, Justice Evon Chukwu stated that there was no evidence linking the accused person to the alleged scam.
Justice Chukwu held that to prove the case against the former Speaker, “the EFCC must prove that the accused person colluded with the supplier or contractor to supply at inflated prices.” He said the EFCC was unable to prove such.
It was also contained in Justice Chukwu’s ruling that all the prosecution witnesses admitted that Hon Bankole was not the Chief Accounting Officer of the House. The judge also held that all the witnesses also admitted that the contract for the purchase of the items that later turned out to be controversial, followed due process.
“There is no evidence to show that any of the companies were fronting for the accused person.
There is no evidence to show that the accused person was a director or a shareholder in any of the companies”, Justice Chukwu said.
The EFCC had dragged Hon Bankole to court over a scam involving the purchase of 2 bullet-proof Range Rover vehicles, another 2 Range Rover vehicles (not bullet-proof), three Mercedes Benz S 600 cars, 400 units of DSTV systems, 400 television sets, 800 units of desktop computers, 100 units of Sharp Digital photocopiers as well as 400 units of LaserJet 2600N.
The profiles and information provided by the companies that executed the procurement contract up to their addresses turned out to be false.
The EFCC alleged that the purchases were in contravention of Sections 17 to 56 of the Procurement Act No 14 of 2007.