The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Friday upheld the no-case submission filed by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola, in his trial for alleged fraud and money laundering trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2016 arraigned Azibaola and his wife, Stella, on a nine-count charge of fraud and money laundering to the tune of $40million.
The EFCC had alleged that the Azibaolas acting in concert with an associated company One Plus Holdings Limited, diverted the funds meant for the supply of tactical communication kits for Special Forces.
The EFCC had also stated that the funds were transferred from the account of the Office of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Retired), with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the domiciliary account of Azibaola’s company.
A three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah in a unanimous judgment held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.
The panel held that the lower court was right when it upheld the no-case submission of the first and third defendants partially.
Justice Adah ruled: “The trial court was in order to discharge and acquit Azibaola and his company in counts 1,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 because offences of money laundering were not sufficiently proved, nor did the prosecution established any prima facie case against the respondents.
“We have gone through the records and found that the appeal is lacking in merit, the appeal is hereby dismissed and the Judgment of the lower court upheld.”
The court also dismissed a preliminary objection to the appeal.