Court Withdraws N1billion Fraud Charges Against Ex-customs Boss, Dikko

The federal high court in Abuja has declared the embattled former Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Inde Dikko free of the N1billion corruption charges filed against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)

The charges were dropped on Wednesday by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on an application by the anti-graft agency, informing the court of its difficulties to apprehend Mr Dikko.

The court had earlier issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Dikko after he failed to appear for his trial.

The court issued the bench warrant at its last sitting in March after the ICPC confirmed that Mr Dikko was not on admission in a London hospital contrary to the claim by the defence counsel, Solomon Akuma.

The ICPC prosecuting counsel, E. A. Shogunle, had told the court that information available showed that the defendant left Nigeria on February 15 and arrived in London through Dubai on February 19.

He said the findings were contrary to the claim by Mr Akuma that Mr Dikko was on admission in a hospital in London as at February 17.

But at Wednesday’s hearing, according to the report, Mr Shogunle informed the court that they had been unable to apprehend Mr Dikko despite the warrant issued against him.

Justice Ojukwu then granted the application of dismissal of charges against Mr Dikko.

The ICPC is prosecuting the former Customs boss alongside two others, Garba Makarfi and Umar Husseini, on multiple charges bordering on defrauding the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, of N1.1 billion.

They are accused of inducing Mr Obadeyi to pay N1.1 billion into the account of Capital Law Office as a refundable “completion security deposit” for the purchase of 120 units of duplexes as residential accommodation for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.”

The ICPC accused Messrs Dikko and Makarfi of using the bank account of Mr Hussaini’s firm’s to illegally receive the money. The anti-graft agency further alleged that Mr Hussaini, within the same period between April 6 and December 2010, shared the money into various accounts.

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