Police withdraws 90-count charge against Peace Corps boss

In a dramatic turn of event, the Nigerian Police, on Wednesday, withdrew the 90-count charge instituted against the National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh.

The 90-count charge filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, was withdrawn by the Police, even before the formal commencement of trial.
However, a new 13-count charge has been brought to replace the initially filed 90-count charge.

The Police Authority has been having the running battle with the Peace Corps Commandant in the last one year, with his arrest and 49 others on February 28, 2017.

No reason was given by the Police for the sudden withdrawal of the 90-count charge. It was, however, gathered that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had faulted the bogus charges brought against Akoh early this year.

The AGF office, according to an anonymous source, found most of the charges frivolous and baseless and lacking ingredients to substantiate in any court of law.

It was also gathered that the AGF was said to have discovered that, most of the count charges earlier filed were the duplication of one another, shortly after the corporate office of the PCN was invaded February 28, during its official commissioning in Abuja.

A team of the legal expert was said to have been put in place by the AGF to review the 90-count charge and came to the conclusion that the charges be reduced and compressed to only 13.

Although the trial of Akoh was slated for Wednesday, a counsel from the AGF office, Mrs. TVC Kuku informed Justice John Tsoho that the AGF had amended the charge and reduced the 90-count charge to only 13, by dropping 77 of the charges in the old charge sheet.

The Counsel submitted that the defendant (Akoh), had not been served with the amended charge personally, as required by law and pleaded with Justice Tsoho to grant an adjournment in the matter, to enable the defendant to be served in line with the provision of the law.

Counsel to the Defendant, John Ochogwu of Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) Chamber did not object to the request for an adjournment for the prosecution.

It will be recalled that the Police, had early in the year, frozen 24 accounts spread across various commercial banks in Nigeria, belonging to the Commandant and other officers of the Corps in various states of the federation.

Justice Tsoho said, upon the discovery that the Police acted in bad fate in freezing the accounts in the first instance, he would have no option than to set aside the order of a Magistrate Court in Wuse and that of the Federal High Court.

Justice Tsoho in his ruling, while vacating the order, held that Police engaged in gross abuse of court process on the ground that, the similar order freezing the PCN accounts was obtained at a Magistrate Court in Wuse, Abuja and was set aside by the same Magistrate Court following a counter motion of the PCN.

The Judge said, that it was wrong of the police to have suppressed facts on the Magistrate Court matter before approaching the Federal High Court for the same order, to freeze the accounts, adding that, “in whatever way the matter is looked, the Police acted in bad fate against the court,” thereby ordering the commercial banks to unfreeze the accounts.

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