Legal Nigeria

Courts discharge, acquit two Beninoise of conspiracy, stealing

By Joseph Onyekwere 

Lagos courts have cleared two Beninoise nationals of the conspiracy, stealing and forgery charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017.

In the first suit marked LD/2415C/16, Justice O. A. Taiwo discharged Gnanhoue Sourou Nazaire and Senou Modeste Finagnon of a 12-count charge of the offences of conspiracy to steal and stealing.

Mrs. Abdou Rachidatou was the nominal complainant in the suit.

The judge made the order following an application for withdrawal of complaint against the defendants, in the wake of a consent judgment in another matter between a firm, Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd; Nazaire and Mrs. Rachidatou.

Justice Taiwo held: “Learned counsel for the defendants, Abubakar  Shamsudeen and his team presented a notice of withdrawal of complaint against the defendants before the court.

“Annexed to the letter of withdrawal is a consent judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No FHC/L/LS/ 1436/13, Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd; Mr. Gnanhoue Sourou Nazaire vs. Mrs. Abdou Rachidatou (Mrs. Rachidatou is the nominal complainant in the charge before this court).

“In the said judgment, she agreed to withdraw all complainants to the EFCC against the defendants. There is also a letter of withdrawal of complaints dated 5/3/ 2021 written to the chairman EFCC.

“In light of the development and settlement between Mrs. Rachidatou, the nominal complainant and the defendants in this case, learned counsel for the defendants urges the court to discharge the defendants. The prosecuting counsel is not opposing the application. 

“Having considered the full circumstances of this case, I hereby discharge the 1st and 2nd defendants in respect of the 12-count charge dated 20/1/17 before this court.”

In the second matter marked LD/6147C/17, an Ikeja Special Offences Court acquitted Nazaire and Finagnon of a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit forgery, forgery and uttering of a forged document.

Justice M.A. Dada made the order on account of the resolution of both parties to withdraw the complaint against the defendants in this case culminating in the letter of discontinuance filed by the Prosecution dated 25/03/2021.

The judge said: “Section 35 of the ACJA, 2015 provides that where a complainant at any time before a final order is made in a case, satisfies the court that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw his complaint, the court may permit him to withdraw the complaint and shall thereupon acquit the defendant.

“The letter from the complainant attached with a letter from the defendants’ defence law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co dated 09/ 03/2021 also addressed to the court and a copy of a Certified True Copy of a Federal High Court Judgment per M.A. Onyetenu in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/{1436/13 being a consent judgment have sufficiently satisfied the court that this is a deserving case in which the complainant may and is hereby permitted to withdraw the complaint. “The Defendants are accordingly hereby acquitted of all the charges preferred against them. This is the judgment of the court.”