The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, rejected an application filed by the detained Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, to quash the drug trafficking charge the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, preferred against him.
Justice Emeka Nwite delivered a ruling that it found no reason to discontinue hearing on how Kyari who hitherto headed the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, and four other police officers, allegedly tampered with cocaine that was seized from two convicted drug peddlers- Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.
The court dismissed the application as lacking in merit, a preliminary objection the embattled DCP filed to challenge the legal competence of the charge, which he said the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain.
The trial judge held that the court was adequately empowered by Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to hear drug-related offences brought under the NDLEA Act.
He dismissed Kyari’s contention that the NDLEA ought to have allowed Police to exhaust its internal investigative/disciplinary mechanisms, before it instituted the court action.
Kyari has been maintaining that he could only be charged to court upon conclusion of the internal investigation by the police stressing that the Police Service Commission, PSC, has similar powers to investigate and discipline erring police officers in line with the Police Act & Regulations, the same way the National Judicial Council, NJC, discipline judicial officers.
Consequently, he prayed the court to quash the charge and discharge him.
His application was also adopted by the other Defendants who prayed the court to terminate further proceedings in the charge against them.
However, the NDLEA, through its Director of Legal Services, Mr. Sunday Joseph, urged the court to dismiss the objection which it argued was based on fundamental misconception of the law.
The agency argued that what it brought before the court was a criminal case for the violation of laws and not a disciplinary action for the infringement of Police Service Rules.