Appeal Court Acquits Hembe’s Deputy

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has discharged and acquitted Chris Azubuogu, former vice chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, of charges bordering on dishonest conversion of money.

He was accused of allegedly converting the sum of $4,095 given to him by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to attend a conference in the Dominican Republic.

In the judgment read by Amiru Sanusi, the appellate court held that the Abuja High Court erred in law when it dismissed Azubuogu’s no-case submission when the prosecution failed to prove the essential elements of the charge.

“The Prosecution witness 1 is an investigator with the EFCC and under cross examination he admitted that it was impossible for the applicant to have travelled to the Dominican Republic for the conference, as the estacode was paid to him on the eve when the conference was supposed to end. They further admitted that the second accused person (Azubuogu) had offered to return the estacode,” the judge said.

The judge added that under cross-examination, Prosecution Witness 4, a staff of SEC, admitted that “when an estacode is collected and the person did not travel another trip would be arranged for him, and the person can return the said money at any time.”

Sanusi further held that it is evident that from the incontrovertible pieces of evidence, there is no evidence before the trial court to prove that the appellant committed the said offence.

He added that it is evident that the second accused person had directed that the estacode be returned to SEC.

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