Proceedings in the case involving a former Minister of Interior, Comrade Patrick Abba Moro, ended abruptly at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, as the trial judge, Justice Anwuri Chikere, suddenly announced her withdrawal from the case.
Justice Chikere, who said she will return the case file to the court’s Chief Judge for reassignment to another judge, was silent on what informed her decision.
Moro alongside a former Permanent Secretary in the Interior Ministry, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, a former director in the ministry, Felix .O Alayebami and a firm, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited were arraigned before the court on February 29 on an 11-count charge.
They were arraigned over their alleged involvement in the botched 2014 recruitment exercise into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) while Moro was minister of interior.
They were accused of defrauding 675, 675 graduate applicants of about N675,675,000 having been made to pay N1,000 each as processing fees for 5,000 job openings.
The four defendants also were accused of breaching the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the recruitment test to Drexel Technology Nigeria Limited.
Although they pleaded not guilty to the charges, Justice Chikere ordered the remand of Moro and Alaiyegbami in Kuje prison, Abuja and allowed Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia, said to be a nursing mother, to remain on the bail earlier granted her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the determination of their bail applications.