N254m Bribery: Court Dismisses EFCC’s Suit Against A’ Ibom Senator

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court last Wednesday dismissed a N254 million bribery suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Albert Bassey, the senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in a ruling, dismissed the suit due to lack of jurisdiction and advised the anti-graft commission to file the suit in Akwa-Ibom State where the alleged bribe took place.
“The issue of jurisdiction is a fundamental one. In the instant case, the prosecution had failed to give reasons why the suit should be heard within this jurisdiction.
“This court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on this matter. I hereby strike out this suit for lack of jurisdiction.
“The prosecution should file the charges in Akwa-Ibom where the alleged fraud took place,” Justice Taiwo said.
Mr Bassey, 46, is faced with corruption charges preffered against him by the EFCC for receiving alleged bribes of 12 cars worth N254m from an oil marketer, Olajide Omokore, during his tenure (2010-2014) as the Akwa-Ibom Commissioner for Finance.
The anti-graft commission claimed that the car gifts were given to Mr Bassey by Mr Omokore in exchange for contracts from the Akwa-Ibom State Government.
The senator was to face a 14-count corruption charge alongside Mr Omokore at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
Mr Bassey was to specifically face seven-counts of corruption by a public officer and a public officer inviting bribes as a result of his own action.
Mr Omokore was to face a seven-count charge of offering gratification to a public officer and giving bribe on account of the action of a public officer.
Counsels to the defendant, Solomon Umoh (SAN) and Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN), had respectively filed applications contending that the court had no power to hear the substantive case.