The Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday discharged and acquitted four persons involved in the alleged examination malpractices charge filed against former Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling, upheld the no-case submission filed by the defendants.
The police had in 2018 arraigned Adeleke along with Sikiru Adeleke (who is said to be the senator’s relative), Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (the school principal), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (a school registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher) on a four count charge bordering on examination fraud.
The charge was later amended to seven counts.
MAN reports that the court in 2019 freed Adeleke from the charges after it was withdrawn by police.
The police predicated their action on the grounds that Adeleke had failed to make himself available for the trial since he was granted leave to travel abroad on medical grounds.
The police then prayed the court to sever the charge to exclude Adeleke from the trial and arraigned the remaining four on a seven count charge bordering on conspiracy.
After calling five witnesses, the police closed its case, which led to the filing of a no-case submission by the defendant.
In his ruling on the no-case submission, Justice Ekwo held that the prosecution failed to establish prima facie case having not proved the ingredients of the charge.
Ekwo further held that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, which, according to him, failed woefully in discharging the burden by not calling relevant witnesses.
He said: “No witness was called from the National Examination Council to testify throughout the trial.
“To worsen the situation, no eyewitness was called from the school where the alleged malpractices was perpetrated.”
The judge further said that there was no iota of the ingredients of conspiracy supplied to the court by the police to establish that the four defendants conspired to commit the alleged malpractices.
Ekwo held: “In all the evidence of the five witnesses were so discredited during cross examination and so manifestly unreliable to warrant the defendants to be called upon to enter their defence in the charges against them.
“In conclusion, since the testimony of the prosecution is insufficient to warrant the defendants to open defence, I have no difficulty in upholding their no-case submission and discharge and acquit them from the charges.
“The suit is hereby dismissed.”