​Court acquits Duru, associates of stealing laptop, files

A Lagos Magistrate Court has dismissed the four-count charge brought against the Vice Chairman of First Guarantee Pensions Limited (FGPL), Chidi Duru, the Company Secretary, Smart Iheazor and his Special Assistant on Media and Strategy, Osita Ogbuagu.
Duru, a former member of the House of Representatives and his associates were arraigned before the court for allegedly stealing a laptop worth N250,000 and three office files from FGPL, six days after his arrest and detention on January 16 and 17, 2017.
In the charge filed before Chief Magistrate A. A. Adefulire, the police alleged that “Chidi Duru ‘M’, Smart Iheazor ‘M’ and others at large, on the 11th day of January 2017, on No. 65 Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Ikeja, did conspire among yourselves to stealing and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
They also alleged that the suspect, alongside others at large “did steal three office files, one HP Laptop valued at N250, 000 property of FGPL”, contrary to Section 285 of Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.”
They were also accused of conducting themselves “in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace by invading FGPL offices with intent to forcefully takeover the management and assets of the company and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 111(d) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011”.
But in a ruling delivered on Friday, July 7 and obtained yesterday, the court did not only dismiss the charges but also declared the interim management of FGPL illegal.
The dismissal was sequel to a preliminary objection filed by Abdul Mohammed, counsel to Nze Duru and his associates on March 22, 2017 challenging the allegation.
Mohammed had argued that the charges were baseless and abuse of court process and that complainant lacked the locus standi to press such charges.
Ruling on the matter, Magistrate Adefulire agreed with Mohammed’s submission and held that there were already existing rulings from superior courts in Duru’s favour and that these judgments were never set aside.

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