LawTeachings

Court Dismisses “No-Case” Submission Filed By Suspended UNICAL Dean

Court

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the no-case submission by the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, and his lawyer, Sunny Anyanwu.

The professor is currently standing trial on four amended counts of alleged sexual harassment and gratification preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

His lawyer, Anyanwu, was alleged to have harassed the ICPC’s star witness.

On February 19, their lawyer, Joe Agi (SAN), filed a no-case submission urging the court to discharge and acquit them.

The duo contended that there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution on which the court could convict them, insisting that the commission failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

Specifically, the professor claimed that the series of chats between him and TKJ, a diploma graduate suggested a consensual relationship between them.

In the chats, the professor noted that they conveyed their love, affection, and concern for each other’s safety.

But the commission, in opposition, filed a counter affidavit on Feb. 23, praying the court to dismiss the application.

Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling, held that the evidence led by the prosecution constituted a prima facie case against the duo.

Justice Omotosho, therefore, ordered Ndifon, the suspended dean, and Anyanwu to enter their defence.

The judge said that though the provision of the ICPC Act relied upon by Agi showed that FHC was not mentioned as a court with jurisdiction over the Act, he said that the court was bound by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Aweto Vs. FRN(2018) where it cited provisions of the ICPC Act, 2000 and Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The purpose of the above decision is that the Federal High Court has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain matters based on the Corrupt Practices Act 2000.

“This is premised on the powers of the Federal High Court under Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution vesting it with exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters involving federal agencies.

“The ICPC is a federal agency and likewise the 1st defendant is a public officer in a federal institution. All these factors make this court a proper venue to try the offences,” he said.