Another fresh scandal that casts doubt on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war has been uncovered. A civil servant who was accused of N2.2 Billion fraud is now a top official of the National Judicial Commission (NJC)!
The official was in office before the Federal Government filed a false assets charge against former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
He is still in office after Onnoghen’s removal.
The official, Ahmed Gambo Saleh, was accused in 2017 of an N2.2 billion fraud by the Federal Government, alongside two others, Muhammed Abdulrahman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal. But the case against him and the others was withdrawn by the government without any reason.
Saleh was subsequently promoted as Secretary of the NJC!
A law website, barristersng, claims that before the trial could commence properly, “Saleh entered into a secret and controversial plea agreement with the Federal Government. The terms of the plea bargain were not made public but the Attorney-General consequently withdrew all charges against Mr Gambo Saleh.
“The withdrawal of the charges against Mr Gambo Saleh was so irregular that it caused a rift between the Attorney-General Abubakar Malami and the lead prosecutor in the matter, Mr Charles Adeogun-Phillips.
Daily Advent could however also not confirm barristersng’s account of the event. Daily Advent also notes that the Federal Government did not publish any proof that Saleh committed the offence.
According to court documents, the Saleh case is as follows:
The Federal Government on February 7, 2017, withdrew without giving reasons, the corruption charges it filed against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr Ahmed Saleh, and two other employees of the apex court.
The charges were filed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja in November, following the raid on the Supreme Court complex and homes of some judges, including two of the apex court, between October 7 and 8, 2016.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed the charges against Saleh, Muhammed Abdulrahman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal on November 3, 2016.
The prosecution in the case marked, FCT/HC/CR/13/2016, accused the defendants of receiving gratifications totalling N74.4m from private contractors providing services to the Supreme Court between 2009 and 2016.
The prosecution also alleged in the nine counts, that the Supreme Court officials, among others, diverted the sum of N2.2bn belonging to the court.
The accused were to be arraigned on February 7, 2017, when a prosecuting counsel, Mrs Hajara Yusuf, announced the withdrawal of the charges.
“This matter is for arraignment today but I have been instructed to withdraw the said charges,” Yusuf said.
She gave no reason for the withdrawal of the charges. The defence lawyers appearing for the defendants said they had no objection. The trial judge, Justice Abba-Bello Mohammed, subsequently struck out the case.
“The charge, FCT/HC/CR/13/2016, is hereby struck out, same having been withdrawn without objection,” the judge ruled.
Saleh was born 3rd June 1969 in Hadejia, Jigawa State. He holds his first and second degrees in Law from Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto and Bayero University, Kano, respectively.
He had a two-year stint in private practice before joining the Civil Service where he became a Senior State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice, Jigawa State between 1998 and 2008. He then moved to Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2008 where he was made the Special Assistant to the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Between 2010 and 2014 he was the Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation Department). He was elevated to the position of Chief Registrar in 2014, until 2017 when he was appointed as the Secretary, National Judicial Council to date.
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