Alleged Fraud: AGF To Arraign Five National Theatre Directors In June
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed June 13 for the arraignment of five directors of the National Theatre for allegedly receiving N500,000 each from a government contractor.
The defendants are a former Acting General Manager, George Ntanta; the Director of Business Development and Events Management, Abiodun Abe; the Director of Engineering and Technology, Ndubuisi Nwogu; the Director of Planning, Research and Strategies, Doris Okafor and Mr Femi Joel.
They were charged by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on two counts of violating the Code of Conduct Act.
According to the charge, the accused were said to have committed the offence on January 16, 2017.
The prosecution alleged that while being public officers, they accepted the sum of N500,000 each from a commercial firm, Market Execution Solutions Ltd, which had a contract with the Federal Government.
The accused were alleged to have accepted the money on account of transactions entered into on behalf of the Federal Government with the firm in the discharge of their duties.
At Monday’s proceedings, Aminu Alilu, a legal officer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, announced his appearance for the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Alilu told the court that he had directives from the AGF to take over and continue with the prosecution of the case.
According to him, by the provisions of sections 174 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the AGF reserves the right to take over, continue or discontinue any criminal charge.
The lawyer, therefore, urged the court to so hold.
In his ruling, Justice Muslim Hassan upheld the submissions of Mr Alilu and held that by the provisions of the constitution, the AGF possessed the power to take over criminal proceedings and “is not legally bound to explain the reasons for the takeover”.
He reiterated the provisions of sections 174 of the constitution, stating that the AGF’s power of taking over can be exercised by him personally or by any of his officers.
The court consequently held that: “Mr A. K Alilu is an officer of the A-G and he can validly take over the case”.
The case was later adjourned till June 13, 2018, for the arraignment of the defendants.