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(2018) LPELR-44563(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Monday, the 28th day of May, 2018


Before Their Lordships

JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ONYEKACHI AJA OTISI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH EYO EKANEM Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


KINGSLEY ADIJEH - Appellant(s)



Other Citations

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This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
This Appeal is against the Judgment of the Federal High Court of Justice sitting in Lafia in suit No. FHC/LF/CR/16/2013 delivered on May 4, 2015. The Appellant was initially arraigned on before the Federal High Court, Lafia on a two-count charge 03-12-13. Subsequently, the Respondent filed an amended seven-count charge on 11-02-14 and the original charge was withdrawn and struck out. Thereafter, the Appellant pleaded not guilty on all seven counts on 17-02-14. 

In order to prove its case, the prosecution adduced evidence through four witnesses. In his defence, the Appellant testified for himself and called one other witness. The case against the Appellant was that he received drugs and goods from PW1, PW2 and PW3 without paying for them, with the instruction to deliver them to specific persons/businesses,  some of which had issued Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) in that regard. However, he diverted the drugs with an intention to cause wrongful loss to the owners, absconded to an unknown location, switched off his phone lines and became incommunicado. He was later arrested by the Police in Lagos on 05-11-13 and brought to New Nyanya Police Station in Karu LGA of Nasarawa State. Thereafter, he was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police Force in Lafia.  

In his defence, the Appellant contended that after collecting the drugs and goods from the owners, he travelled to Lagos to render his yearly audit report to Orange Drug Pharmaceutical Company where he was a Sales Representative. He contended that this was merely a case of a debt owed by him to the people from whom he collected the drugs. He admitted that goods worth N12, 000, 000.00 (Twelve Million Naira) were supplied to him by PW1 but even though he disputed the amount stated in the charge, he did not know the actual amount of money he had since refunded and the quantity of drugs recovered from him by the Police, and therefore how much he still owed. 

At the close of trial and final addresses of Counsel, the Appellant was found guilty on all counts of the charge and convicted for the offences of conspiracy and obtaining drugs by false pretences on 04-05-15. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment to run concurrently, with effect from the date of his arrest. He was also ordered to make restitution of the drugs or their monetary value to the owners. Dissatisfied with the Judgment, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court determined the appeal on the issues it couched as follows:

1. Whether the learned trial Judge was right in law when he convicted the Appellant along with Chinyere Ogbonanya (now at large) for conspiracy to obtain drugs by false pretence. 

2. Whether by virtue of Section 251(1) (2) & (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Sections 12 and 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, CAP. A6 Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine charge no: FHC/LF/CR/16/2013.

3. Whether the learned trial Judge was right when he failed to deliver separate verdicts in counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the charge while passing sentences. 

4. Whether the Federal High Court was right when it ordered the Appellant to return the drugs, the subject matter of the charge, when the quantity of drugs and their monetary value was not proved. 

5. Whether the Charge under which the Appellant was convicted is bad for misjoinder of offenders (sic) and has resulted in a breach of the Appellant's right to fair hearing.

6. Whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. 

On the whole, the Court allowed the appeal in part. Accordingly, the Judgment of the Federal High Court holden at Lafia, in Charge No. FHC/LF/CR/16/13 between The Commissioner of Police V Kingsley Adijeh, delivered on May 4, 2015 by Okeke, J., was affirmed in part. The Appeal against the verdicts of the Federal High Court as well as the Order of restitution also succeeded in part.

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