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Alleged Arson: Court refuses to dismiss charge against Lebanese national, 1 other

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A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, has rejected an application seeking to withdraw charges against a Lebanese national,Maged Ali-Taan and his employee Mustapha Tiamiyu, over alleged arson.

Taan who is the Managing Director of Alibert Products Nigeria Limited and his employee Tiamiyu, are charged by the Inspector General of Police on three-count bordering on conspiracy, arson and attempt to temper with electric transformer.

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It will be recalled that the court on Dec.6, 2023 issued a warrant of arrest on the defendants for failure to appear before the court to answer their plea.

When the case came up for arraignment, the Prosecution Counsel, Head of Legal Department Kano State Police Command, Sunday Ekwe, made an application seeking to withdraw the charges against the defendants.

“Mylord a directive was sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Police Kano Command from Abuja in charge of Criminal Investigation Department on “Request for termination of charge” for further investigation.

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“We graciously and passionately ask this court to grant our application pursuant to section 108(1)(2)(b) of Administration of Criminal Justice 2015”

The defense counsel, Barr. Hussaini Saifullahi, did not oppose the application.

Responding, Counsel to the complainant, Barr. Okechukwu Eze, opposed the application, adding that it is a federal offense.

“Section 174 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution, says a Prosecutor have no right to withdraw charges against a defendant.

“section 107 and 108 of the ACJL gives the Attorney General of the Federation power to withdraw any case.

“Mylord i am aware that the defendants were arrested and we don’t know why they were not brought to court”

In a ruling delivered shortly after hearing of the application, Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa, struck out the application for lacking merit.

“Neither the Prosecution Counsel or Deputy Commissioner are competent to make this application, it is only the Attorney General that can apply withdrawal of proceedings at any stage”

He ordered that the defendants be brought to court on Feb.12, for arraignment.

The defendants on Dec.20, 2021 were alleged to have conspired willfully and maliciously set fire on a building at no 5c Murtala Muhammed Way Kano which he occupied as a tenant and used same as show room.

“In the process Taan made a fraudulent insurance claim on the said building.

“The defendants also allegedly attempted to temper with electric cables and transformer used for supplying electricity to the said building”

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened the provisions of section 3(6),1(4)(a) and 1(19)(a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act.

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