After seven years on trial, former Senate President Chief Adolphous Wabara, former Education Minister Prof. Fabian Osuji and Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez were yesterday set free from criminal charges of obtaining N50 million bribe and breach of public trust.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja set the trio free and quashed the 15-count charge brought against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The ICPC had brought Wabara and other accused persons on trial on the allegation that they obtained the money to facilitate easy passage of the budget of the Federal Ministry of Education in 2005.

Two of the accused, Senator Badamasi Maccido, Senator Emmanuel Okpede and one other died during the trial and their names struck out from the charges sheet.

The appellate court held that the criminal charges were frivolous, baseless and lacking in merit and as such cannot be sustained by any prosecution.

In the judgement delivered by Justice Mary Peter Odili, the court held that the charges were bogus and failed to disclose a prima facie case against the accused persons.

The court wondered why the prosecution failed to attach the list of witnesses and other relevant documents to the charges as demanded by law.

The court lambasted former President Olusegun Obasanjo for allegedly subjecting the accused persons to a pre-court trial in his radio and television broadcasts in 2005 in which the accused persons were pronounced guilty.

The Appeal Court held that the action of the Federal Government on the allegation was most embarrassing, barbaric and uncivilised because the accused had not even made statements to any security agent before Obasanjo’s broadcast.

The court upheld the submission of Mr. Gordy Uche of Chris Uche chambers that the accused were tried and convicted by the then president and that any other trial would amount to double jeopardy.

Justice Odili, who reviewed the trial, held that the performance of the prosecution fell below standard and expectation.

She held that the prosecution failed because some of the alleged offences were not defined by law, adding that every charge or indictment must be made so clear in law.

The court also held that the failure of the prosecution to attach the list of witnesses as demanded by law was a great error, a blunder and was fatal to the case of the prosecution.

Justice Odili said that the accused have no case to answer in law and set them free.

The accused persons had earlier approached an Abuja high Court to quash the charges against them but Justice Oseni Muktar, on November 10, 2005, dismissed the request.

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