The Nigerian government has withdrawn the charge of criminal conspiracy against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
The motion was supported in an affidavit filed by a litigation officer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Odubu Loveme, on Thursday, before the High Court of Federal Capital Territory.
In the motion, Mr Loveme held that the counsel to the Federal Government on the matter, Aliyu Umar, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on September 30, in the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, informed him that he had studied the case diary and “had decided to amend the charge in the manner stated on the face of the motion paper”.
Consequently, the litigation officer stated that he had filed an amended charge.
“That I depose to this affidavit in good faith believing same to be correct to the best of my knowledge and information and in accordance with the Oaths Act Cap 01 laws of the Federation of Nigeria,” he said.
Saraki and Ekweremadu, as well as a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and a former Deputy clerk, Ben Efeturi, were first arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu on June 10, 2016.
However, based on the amended charge, only Maikasuwa and Efeturi would face prosecution.
The first charge against the two civil servants, is that of Criminal Conspiracy punishable under section 97 (1) Penal Code Act ( Northern States) Federation Provisions Act, 1960, Cap 345, laws of the Federation 1990 as amended.
It read that: “ Salisu Maikasuwa and Benedict Efeturi, on or about the 9th day of June 2015 at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court agreed to do an illegal act, to wit to make the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended without the authority of the 7th Senate of the Federal republic of Nigeria which act was committed by yourselves and that you thereby committed the offence of criminal conspiracy.”
The two officials are also accused of fraudulently amending the 2015 Senate Standing Orders without the authority of the 7th Senate “ with intention that the Senators elect of the 8th Senate would believe that the said Senate Standing Orders 2015 ( as amended) was made by the authority of the 7th Senate of the Federal republic of Nigeria.”
The duo are accused of forging a document punishable under section 366 of the Penal Code Act ( Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, 1960, Cap 345, Laws of the Federation 1990 ( as amended).
The federal government also accused them of giving false information with the intention to mislead the public.
The Court had on September 28 adjourned the matter to Friday, October 7 for commencement of hearing.