A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday discharged and acquitted four persons charged with examination malpractice along with former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
In a ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo upheld the defendants’ no-case submission and proceeded to discharge and acquit them.
The four are: Sikiru Adeleke (who is said to be the senator’s relative), Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (the head teacher of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro, Osun State), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (a school’s Registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher in the school).
In the ruling, Justice Ekwo held that the prosecution failed to establish prima facie case by not proving the ingredients of the charge against the defendants.
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The judge also held that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, which, according to him, failed woefully in discharging the burden by not calling relevant witnesses.
“No witness was called from the National Examination Council (NECO) to testify throughout the trial. To worsen the situation, no eyewitness was called from the school where the alleged malpractices were perpetrated,” he said.
Justice Ekwo said the police did not supply any iota of the ingredients of conspiracy to establish that the four defendants conspired to commit the alleged malpractices.
“In all, the evidence of the five witnesses were so discredited during cross-examination and so manifestly unreliable to warrant the defendants to be called upon to enter their defence in the charges against them,” he said.