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Court orders el-Rufai, others to be arraigned

Abuja – An Abuja High Court, Monday, insisted that former FCT Minister Nasir el-Rufai, has a case to answer, saying he must make himself available for arraignment.

Justice Abubakar Umar, granted the order while ruling on preliminary objections filed by counsel to el-Rufai, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) challenging the arraignment of the accused persons.

Also to be arraigned are Hajiya Altine Jubrin, former Director-General, Abuja Geographic Information System  (AGIS) and Malam Ismaila Iro, former General Manager, AGIS.

The judge also in his ruling, granted leave to the EFCC to arraign el-Rufai on an eight count charge of fraudulent allocation of land and abuse of public office.

Olujimi in the preliminary objections, argued that the charges leveled against his clients had no legal bases, having been filed under a repealed law, the ICPC Act 2003.

He said that under the repealed law, the FCT High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter and urged the court to quash the charges and discharge the accused persons.

*El-Rufai when he reported at the EFCC's office in Abuja, May, 2010.

Justice Umar held that the EFCC had filed the fresh charges based on the ICPC Act of 2000.

The judge also held that under the Act, the EFCC had the powers to amend the charges against an accused before judgment is delivered.

“In this case, the accused have yet to be arraigned to take their plea, so the court can grant the EFCC leave to amend the charge as contained in the provisions of the ICPC Act 2000,” he said.

The judge also held that the EFCC, under provisions of section 46 of the act setting it up, had the responsibility to investigate all economic and financial crimes in the country.

He also held that the ex-minister’s request to quash the case, lacked merit and threw out the application.

Umar fixed April 7 as date for arraignment and ordered the EFCC counsel, Mr Adebayo Adelokun (SAN) to prepare the commission’s charge sheet.


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