The Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State has discharged and Acquitted a former member representing Logo State Constituency, Benue State House of Assembly (BNHA), Kester Kyenge and six others over allegations bordering on money laundering .
The 9th defendants standing trial before the court on an 11 charge charge, Conspiring to convert the sum of N1, 714, 720, 000.00 belonging to the Algon domiciled in Keystone Bank Plc which they withdrew in several installments with the aim of concealing the money and thereby committing an offense of contrary to sections 18 of the money laundering (Prohibition) act 2011 and punishable under section 15 of the same act.
According to the trial Judge, Justice James Aneke, Out of the 8th prosecution witnesses called by the prosecution and who testified in court, were unable to proof any elements constituting the offenses made up in the 11 court the defendants are standing trial on.
He held that they were unable to show any concealment, benefit or show that the money was fraudulently used to their own benefits or able to point at any property acquired with same.
Consequently, the court discharged the 9th defendant and acquitted them of the 11 court charge on a no case submittion submitted by their various counsel.
The Judge, had granted the defendants bail for N100 million each and sureties in like sum.
They were alleged involvement in the misappropriation of N107bn during the tenure of the erstwhile Governor of the State, Senator Gabriel Suswam.
Forty-seven others, along with Suswam, were earlier indicted by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom, to probe Suswam’s eight-year tenure.
Those freed alongside Kyenge, are two former aides to Suswam, Terfa Bosua and Andrew Ayande as well as former Chairmen of Ado and Ukum Local Government Area (LGAs) of the state, David Sev-Av and Alex Ogaba respectively.
According to the Judge, records available to him shows that the accused persons who had no previous criminal record were on administrative bail, an indication that they would not jump bail if granted same.
He therefore granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N100m each and sureties in like sum.
The judge ordered that each surety provided by the defendants must be a highly placed person in the society, must be a resident and have landed property in Makurdi, the state capital.
He maintained that the sureties must deposit the original copy(s) of the CoO of their landed properties and two recent passports and evidence of tax certificates.