Orubebe Ex-minister's N70m bribery charge dropped, but faces false asset declaration trial

FG resolves to prosecute the former Minister on an amended one-count charge bordering on allegation of false declaration of his assets in 2007.

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The Federal Government on Tuesday streamlined the four-count charge preferred against former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, into a single-count charge of false asset declaration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Orubebe is being tried before Justice Danladi Umar of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Mohammed Diri, informed the tribunal that the Federal Government has resolved to withdraw some of the charges first filed on Oct. 8.

Diri told the tribunal that he has just filed a new one-count charge bothering on false asset declaration while other issues bothering on corruption and bribery against the Ex-Minister had been dropped.

According to Diri, the Federal Government resolves to prosecute the former Minister on an amended one-count charge bordering on allegation of false declaration of his assets in 2007.

The counsel said that the amended charge was brought in pursuant to the provisions of Section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The prosecution alleged that Orubebe failed to declare his asset at 2057, Asokoro District, Abuja, when he assumed office as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on June 29, 2011.

He said that amended one-count charge was served on the defendant some moments before the Tuesday proceedings began.

Diri said that the charge preferred against the defendant was contrary to the provision of Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act.

He said that it was also against the provision of CAP 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.

Diri also informed the tribunal that he would be willing to call three witnesses to testify to the charge

Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Mr Selekeowei Larry (SAN), did not oppose the amendment.

The Tribunal Chairman, however, accepted the new charge and struck out the former ones.

The chairman also directed that the fresh charge be read to the defendant to which he pleaded not guilty.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter till April 7 for the prosecution to open its case.

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