A magistrate court, sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital on Friday discharged a 55-year-old man, Moses Olatunde, who had been in prison custody since October 2018 over an alleged accumulated debt incurred from buying food on credit.
The accused person, a retired civil servant in the state, who was said to have retired from the Ministry of Education as Administrative Officer in 2017 and still waiting for his gratuities, was arraigned on October 9, 2018, and remanded in Ilesa prison after Police accused him of ‘stealing’.
The police prosecutor, Inspector Jafani Muslim, had earlier informed the court that the accused person, committed the offence between the month of June 2017 and January 2018, at Ola-Iya area of Osogbo metropolis.
Muslim said the accused person did cheat one Mrs. Kudirat Yusuff by buying cooked food worth Two hundred and sixty-nine thousand, nine hundred and forty Naira. (N269,940:00) on credit and failed to pay.
However, when the case came up on Friday, the representative of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olajubu, who on behalf of Director of Public Prosecution gave a legal advice on the case informed the court that the case, against what the police made it to look like was a simple contract matter.
He added that there was no established evidence of crime that could have warranted any other approach different from civil procedure.
“Having gone through the case file, it is evident that a simple contract has been formed by the parties. All the elements of a simple contract have been fulfilled and consequently, the accused has breached the term of the simple contract.
“There are no evidence of any crime been perpetrated against the complainant by the accused other than the breach of a simple contract, which should result to a civil matter.
“I am of the opinion that this is premise on civil case and not criminal in nature. However, steps should be made to ensure the accused person pays his debt. The accused person is however not liable for any criminal offence whatsoever”.
The Magistrate, Mr O. T Badmus, thereafter struck out the case after getting assurance of payment from the counsel to the accused person, Mrs Julie Olorunfemi, who is the Osun State Coordinator of Legal Aid Council.