Appeal Court reverses conviction of Maj.-General, orders retrial

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside a Special Military Court Martial’s conviction of a former Chief of Transformation and Innovation at the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Major-General Ibrahim Sani.

The court, in a unanimous judgment of a three-man panel, led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya, ordered the re-trial of the General after voiding the proceedings of the court martial leading to the conviction and sentence.

The court held that the trial was conducted in breach of the appellant’s right to fair hearing.

Delivering judgment in his appeal challenging the court martial’s judgment, the Court of Appeal held, “The proceedings and judgment of the special court martial in respect of charge No: NA/COAS/GI/39/16 filed before the lower Special Court Martial was set aside.

“An order is made for the retrial of the charges against the appellant by another Special Court Martial.”

The Court of Appeal made the order its April 8, 2019 judgment, setting aside the conviction and the sentence of the appellant.

A copy of the judgment in the appeal marked CA/A/791/2017 was obtained on Thursday.

The judgment was delivered on the court martial’s four interlocutory rulings and the judgment.

Sani was, on July 4, 2016, arraigned before the court martial, which sat at the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment, Asokoro, Abuja.

He was arraigned on nine counts bordering on, among others, making of false documents and cheating punishable under sections 56(2), 66(a), 90(a) and 113(3) of the Armed Forces Act (AFA), CAP A20, LFN, 2004.

The charges bordered on his alleged roles in the management of a large parcel of land allocated to the Nigerian Army in Asokoro, Abuja.

He had pleaded not guilty to eight of the counts as count 9 was struck out for being a duplication of count 3.

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