Justice Anwuri Chikere of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday withdrew from the trial of a former Interior Minister, Abba Moro and his co-accused.
The judge said she would return the case file to the Chief Judge for the Federal High Court for reassignment to another judge.
The matter was fixed for Wednesday for commencement of trial after the accused persons were arraigned on February 29, 2016.She was however silent on the reason for her decision.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arraigned Moro along with 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.
They were arraigned on 11 counts involving their alleged involvement in the botched 2014 recruitment exercise of the Nigerian Immigration Service while Moro was minister.
They were accused of defrauding 675, 675 graduate applicants of about N675,675,000 having been made to pay N1000 each as processing fees for 5,000 (five thousand) job openings.
The four defendants were also accused of breaching the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
On March 3, the judge granted them bail, admitting Moro to bail on self recognition, but allowing the others on bail at N100million and a surety each, and adjourned to April 27 for commencement of trial.
Parties were in court yesterday, in anticipation of the commencement o trial, only for the judge to announce her withdrawal in the case, citing “personal reasons.”
With Justice Chikere’s decision, the case will be re-assigned to a new judge for the re-arraignment of the accused persons.