The Court of Appeal has discharged and acquitted former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun on all 15 charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the People’s Gazette has reported.
On Tuesday, the Ibadan Division of the appeal court put an end to the eleven-year-old litigation against Mr Daniel.
Justice Yargata Nimpar, who read the judgment, found merit in the eight issues brought to the court by the ex-Ogun governor against the EFCC and acquitted Mr Daniel on all counts.
However, Mr Nimpar described the prosecution as malicious as the anti-fraud agency should not make use of state fiat to prosecute a governor for an action protected by a federal legislation like the Land Use Act as it empowers the governor to allocate land to all nigerians, including churches and for all purposes.
The court also noted that Mr Daniel was tried in Abuja for a supposed crime purportedly committed against Ogun, as such the trial court lacked jurisdiction to try him.
Mr Daniel had earlier approached the appellate court after a lower court dismissed his no-case submission on charges bordering on asset declaration, land allocation, corrupt enrichment among others.
The trail had faced multiple setbacks following failure to present witnesses.
Mr Daniel was arraigned on October 12, 2011 on 43-count charges on allegedly stealing and mismanaging about N7 billion as Ogun governor.
On April 16, 2012, Mr Daniel was re-arraigned on 38-count charge for allegedly stealing and mismanaging N211.3 million, after the court dismissed the earlier case over failure of EFCC to seek leave of court to amend the information it had presented.