From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Government has filed a 90-count criminal charge against the Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Mr. Dickson Akor and the Incorporated Trustees of the Corps bordering on alleged conversion of money directly derived from extortion to the tune of about N1.4 billion.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/45/2017, filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the defendants are further charged for wearing uniforms and other identification marks, contrary to section 24 (1) of the Private Guard Companies Act Cap P30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 32 (1) of the Act.
The charge filed by Aminu Alilu, an Assistant Chief State Counsel, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, also accused the defendants of laundering funds obtained through unlawful activity, contrary to Section 7(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act, Cap A6 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
The Federal Government also accused the defendants of obtaining money by false pretence, contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act, Cap A6 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
They were also charged, for organising and training of members of Peace Corps of Nigeria as a quasi-military organization, contrary to Section 6(1)(a) of the Public Order Act, Cap P42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
Count 88 of the charge accused the defendants of unauthorised display of flags, contrary to section 7(4)(b) of the Public Order Act, Cap P42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
The case has already been assigned to Justice Gabriel Kolawole of Court 6, Abuja division of the Federal High Court, but no date has been fixed for hearing.
Following the raid of its headquarters in Abuja and subsequent arrest and detention of Akor and 49 others, the Peace Corps had filed a N2billion suit against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS).
In the, the plaintiffs are demanding the money as compensation for the alleged embarrassment caused the Peace Corps and its Incorporated Trustees by the arrest and detention of its personnel. They are asking the court to declare as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional the arrest of Akor and other officers of the corps as well as the sealing up of its head office in Abuja and offices in the 36 states.
The defendants in the suit are Police, IGP, National Security Adviser (NSA), DSS, DG, DSS and the AGF, who are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respondents respectively.