A Federal High Court in Abuja has exonerated the former Head of Service (HoS) of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye of a One Hundred and Ninety Million Naira (N190m) fraud charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Discharging and acquitting him, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo however pronounced two of the companies, Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Ltd and Drew Investment & Construction Company Ltd, guilty as charged.
The EFCC had prosecuted Oronsaye, the Managing Director of Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Osarenkhoe Afe, Cluster Logistic Limited, Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited, and Drew Investment & Construction Company Limited on a 22-count charge.
The EFCC alleged, among others, that the defendants had, between 2010 and 2011, used the firms to divert public funds through procurement fraud.
It also accused Orosanye and the others of using inflated biometrics enrolment contracts, collective allowances, and other schemes to siphon money from accounts containing pensioners’ funds.
The judge said: “Now, on the case of the 1st defendant (Oronsaye), I find upon evaluating the evidence of the prosecution in this case, from the evidence of PW1-PW21, that no credible evidence has been adduced by the prosecution linking him with the offences, alleged against him in counts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 31, 32, 34 and 42 of the count sheet.
“I make an order discharging and acquitting him.”
As it relates to Afe, (the 2nd defendant), the judge recalled that the court had, on October 6, 2020, made an order, after a trial-within-trial conducted in the case, rejecting the extra-statements he purportedly made on February 24, 2011, and March 16, 2011, because they were not obtained voluntarily.
The judge said in Afe’s evidence, as the second defence witness (DW2) which the EFCC did not controvert, that operatives of the EFCC invaded his house on February 24, 2011, carted away his properties, including files and documents, and then arrested him.
He noted that the witness said he has not seen those properties, files, and documents since then.