The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has withdrawn the money laundering charge amounting to N1.84 billion against Nicholas Ashinze and eight other individuals.
The defendants were being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 13-count charge filed on October 6, 2017.
The defendants in the case were Nicholas Ashinze, Wolfgang Reinl, Edidiong Idiong, Sagir Mohammed, Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organisation, Vibrant Resource Limited, and Sologic Integrated Service Limited.
During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, David Kaswe, a lawyer who claimed to be acting on the instruction of the AGF, applied to take over the prosecution from the EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Offem Uket, pursuant to Section 174(1)(a) and (c) of the Constitution.
After taking over the case, Kaswe applied to withdraw it, a move that was not opposed by the defendant’s lawyers. They instead requested the court to grant the prosecution’s request to withdraw the charge and also discharge and acquit the defendants.
Justice Abang observed that the prosecution had not closed its case, and it would be unlawful to discharge and acquit the defendants since they had not testified in their defense and called their witnesses.
The judge granted the prosecution’s application to withdraw, struck out the charge, and discharged the nine defendants without acquitting them.