The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday discharged a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, over examination malpractices charges.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order following an amendment of the charges which saw Adeleke’s name dropped as a defendant in the case.
The prosecuting counsel, Simon Lough, had told Justice Ekwo on Thursday that the prosecution decided to drop Adeleke’s name in the case due to his continued absence from the court which continued to stall the trial.
Adeleke had not attended court since he was granted permission by the court on May 6, 2019, to travel to the United States of America on health grounds.
The court had ordered him to return to the country by June 7, 2019.
Following the amendment of the charges on Thursday, Adeleke’s name was dropped from the case with the remaining defendants rearraigned on Friday.
The defendants who all pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday are Sikiru Adeleke, the principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Alhaji Aregbesola Muftau; the registrar of the school, Gbadamosi Ojo; and a teacher in the school, Dare Samuel Olutope.
The defence lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), did not oppose the application for the amendment of the charges when the prosecution announced the discontinuation of the case against Adeleke on Friday.
The senior lawyer, however, urged the judge to make a consequential order of discharging and acquitting the ex-governorship candidate.
Reacting, Lough partly opposed the request saying the appropriate order the court could make was to discharge the defendant.
Justice Ekwo who had adjourned the ruling on slight disagreement ruled on Friday issuing an order for the discharge of the defendant.
Adeleke who contested the September 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun State and came second, was arraigned along with others on October 31 of the same year.
The prosecution accused them of committing the offence of examination malpractices by fraudulently, through impersonation, registering Adeleke and another Sikiru Adeleke, as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, in Ojo-Aro in Osun State, for the National Examination Council’s June/July 2017 Senior School Certificate Examination in February 2017.
It alleged that Ademola and Sikiru Adeleke were fraudulently registered for the examination and “awarded them seven credits, one pass and five credits respectively, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 10(a) and punishable under section 3 of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.”
The Adelekes were also accused of impersonating “as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School when you fraudulently registered as internal students of the school in the June/July, 2017 NECO, and having registered, conspired with unknown persons now at large to write the examination for them.”
According to the prosecuting counsel, Lough, the offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under the various provisions of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.