From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the examination fraud charges brought against a secondary school principal, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau, and three others who were charged along with Senator Nurudeen Adeleke by the police.
In his judgment yesterday, Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo discharged and acquitted the four persons accused of committing the alleged examination malpractices alongside former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the last election in Osun State.
He set free the defendants from the seven amended count charge while delivering ruling in their no-case submission.
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The court had last year freed Adeleke from the charges after they were withdrawn by police.
The police predicated their action on the grounds that Adeleke had failed to make himself available for 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 arraign 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 prove rested on the police, which according to him, failed woefully in discharging the burden by not calling relevant witnesses.
“No witness was called from the National Examination Council (NECO) to testify throughout the trial. To worsen the situation, no eye witness was called from the school on the day the alleged malpractices were perpetrated,” Ekwo held.
Besides, the judge 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.