Revelations have emerged on why the federal government on Tuesday withdrew the N2.2 billion fraud charges it slammed on the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr Ahmed Gambo Saleh and two others before a Federal Capital Territory High Court at Jabi in Abuja.
Saleh was billed for arraignment alongside Mr Muhammed Abdulrahaman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal before Justice Abba Bello Mohammed on a nine-count charge bordering on diversion of N2.2 billion of public funds, criminal breach of trust and taking bribe from Supreme Court contractors to the tune of N74.4 million.
Initially, they were scheduled to be arraigned in November last year but the arraignment could not hold as one of the defendants, Muhammed Abdulrahaman Sharif, was absent in the court on the account of alleged ill-health.
However, at the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, counsel representing the federal government, Mrs Hajara Yusuf, informed the court shortly after she announced her appearance that she had been instructed by the Attorney-General of the Federation to withdraw the charges against all the defendants.
The government’s lawyer, however, did not give reasons for the withdrawal of the charges.
The trial judge, Justice Abba-Bello Mohammed, subsequently struck out the charges.
But investigations The AUTHORITY revealed that the FG dropped the charges in order to pave way for a plea bargain arrangement with the defendants.
According to Section 270 sub-Section 2 (C) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA), “Where the defendant in a conspiracy has fully cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of the crime by providing relevant information for the successful prosecution of other offenders.”