By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The four applications filed by BGL Plc and its subsidiaries objecting to their trial before the Wuse Magistrate Court in Abuja have been dismissed by Chief Magistrate Chinyere Nweoachenu.
According to a statement from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the judge held that ongoing civil matters involving the firm in another court cannot affect the hearing of the criminal case before the Magistrate Court.
As a result, the court fixed Wednesday October 2, 2018, for the definite hearing of the case before it.
BGL Plc and her subsidiaries had filed four different applications against their trial which centred on the FIR before the court and jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
“This matter is a criminal one while the one before the Federal High Court is a civil case. Also, none of the cases in the Federal High Court are between same parties in this case. In this case, the Commissioner of Police is a party, but he is not a party in the suit in the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.
“Sections 304 and 305 of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 states that where in the course of its investigation, the Commission discovers evidence of possible criminality, the Commission shall be obliged to pass such information to the appropriate criminal prosecuting authorities, such as, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Attorney-General of a State and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“It further states that where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against.
“The companies and their officials were charged before the court on allegations of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and cheating contrary to Section 936 (312) (322) (323) of the Penal Code,” the court held.
The Chief Magistrate stated that the First Information Report (FIR) in law does not constitute evidence, therefore it would be premature for the court to establish a prima facie case as evidence has not been taken. She therefore dismissed all three applications for lack of merit.
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