The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Tuesday ordered a former Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) to enter his defence in the case of alleged diversion of about N29 billion of public funds preferred against him and eight others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Peter Ige, held in a unanimous judgment that the appeal brought before the court by Nyako lacks merit.
The former governor had appealed against a ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja rejecting his no-case submission.
Nyako and eight others, including Abdulaziz, his son, are standing trial before Juatice Abang on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering, allegedly perpetrated while he was a governor of Adamawa State.
EFCC had closed its case on November 13, 2019, after calling 21 witnesses and instead of Nyako and his co-defendants to open their defence, they filed a no-case submission in which they argued that the facts adduced by all the witnesses called by the prosecution do not prove the allegation against them.
Ruling on the no-case application, Justice Abang held that evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses in chief and under cross-examination, including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants, the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants.
He consequently dismissed the no-case submission filed by the defendants for lacking merit.
Not satisfied with the ruling of the trial court, Nyako approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling of Justice Abang and uphold his no-case submission.
But Justice Ige, in the lead judgment of the appeal, held that Justice Abang was right in rejecting Nyako’s no-case submission as the prosecution sufficiently established a prima facie case against the former governor to require him to enter his defence.
He proceeded to affirm Justice Abang’s ruling and dismissed Nyako’s appeal for lacking in merit.
By the Tuesday decision of the Court of Appeal, Nyako with his co-defendants will appear before Justice Abang to explain their involvement in the alleged diversion of about N29 billion of public funds.