An accused person, Olakunle Bamidele Heritage, who is standing trial on allegations bordering on forgery, illegal possession of fake documents and making false statement, has challenged the jurisdiction of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute him.
This scenario played out at a resumed hearing recently at the FCT High Court 2, Maitama, Abuja, when counsel to ICPC announced his readiness to proceed with the case and sought the relief of the court to tender an application seeking to withdraw the earlier charges and substitute them.
In a counter motion, the defence counsel informed the court that they had an application for preliminary objection, challenging the validity of the entire suit.
In a swift reaction, ICPC’s lead counsel, whose argument was premised on Section 396, Sub-section 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice System (ACJS), opposed the preliminary objection, saying it was too premature for the defence counsel to come up with such an issue at that point in time.
He further averred that the preliminary objection was a deliberate ploy to delay the trial and therefore prayed the court not to entertain it.
Also, relying on the same section of the ACJS, counsel to the accused person, stated that the issue of his application being premature did not arise, as the court did not even have business in the first instance to entertain the case, citing a plethora of Supreme Court cases.
Since the castle of jurisdiction was the structure built around their argument, the trial judge having listened carefully to the submissions of both parties, adjourned till 20th February, 2017 for ruling.
It should be recalled that the accused had earlier been charged before Honourable Justice Salisu Garba of the above court for actions which contravened Section 25 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, where he pleaded not guilty.