Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Governor Ikpeazu

 

 

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Paul Galunje, the court held that the appellant did not establish its claims of over-voting.

According to him, to prove this allegation there are crucial documents that the appellant must tender.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms Election Of Governor Ishaku

He said: “The law is clear that the petitioner must tender the voters’ register, relate the document to the specific area where the documents were affected.

“However, in this case, the appellant has not done so, it merely dumped form ec8a and ec8b before the court but did not call any witnesses to prove its allegations of over-voting”.

Justice Galunje added that the card reader print out tendered by the appellant at the trial tribunal cannot be converted into the constitution or electoral act which is the yardstick for proving over voting as such relying on the card reader is fatal to any petitioners case.

He concluded that the appellant failed to lead credible evidence in proof of their case and the two lower courts are right to dismiss the appeal.

Orji Kalu Seeks Post Conviction Bail On Health Grounds

File Photo

 

The former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu has filed an application for bail pending his appeal against his jail sentence.

Mr Kalu through his counsel is making the application based on health grounds, which he says the medical facilities in the prison cannot handle.

He also informed the court of his role as chief whip of the senate, which he says the interests of his constituents would be in jeopardy if he was kept behind bars.

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos had on December 5, 2019, jailed Mr Kalu for 12 years after finding him guilty of N7.56 billion fraud.

Slim Nigeria Ltd, Mr kalu’s company was wound up and the assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

His aide, Mr Jones Udeogu who was the Director of Finance in the Abia state government house was also sentenced to a five-year jail term.

READ ALSO: Bill Seeking Six-Year Single Term For President, Govs Fails

In an amended 39 count, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

The presiding judge, Mohammed Idris described money laundering offence as a crime against humanity.

However, the EFCC opposed the bail on the ground that bail is for accused persons on the presumption of innocence, but that since he had been convicted, he could no longer enjoy such privilege.

The presiding judge, Mohammed Liman adjourned till December 23, 2019, for a ruling.

Court Finds Orji Uzor Kalu Guilty Of N7.65bn Fraud

A file photo of Senator Orji Kalu.

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has found the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others guilty of N7.65billion fraud.

Mr Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Mr Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.

In an amended 39 counts, the EFCC accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Mr Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, procured Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by him and members of his family – to retain its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7

The prosecution claimed that the sum N7.1bn formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and therefore violating Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.

Apart from the N7.1bn, the ex-governor and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460million allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.

The prosecution called 19 witnesses.

Justice Mohammed Idris thereafter sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment.

Tribunal Affirms Ikpeazu’s Election As Abia Governor

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Friday upheld the victory of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of Abia State.

The tribunal also dismissed the petition filed by Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

Chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye while delivering a unanimous judgement held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations of over-voting and non compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election.

 

Tribunal Nullifies Orji Kalu’s Election, Orders Fresh Poll

 

A tribunal sitting in Umuahia the Abia State capital, has ordered a rerun of the election between Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North senatorial district and Mao Ohuabunwa of the PDP.

According to the tribunal, the election is expected to take place within the next 90 days in some wards in Ohafia, Arochukwu, Isuikwuato, Nkporo and Bende LGAs.

Ohabunwa had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Orji Kalu as the elected candidate, alleging non-compliance with the principles of electoral law and violation of margin of lead.

Details later…

Insecurity: South East Governors Meet In Enugu

 

Governors of the five southeastern states of the country have converged on the Enugu State Government House for their first meeting since the beginning of the year.

Top on the agenda of the meeting is a review of the security situation in the zone and ways to improve it.

The meeting would also address the issue of effective community policing as well as the possible establishment of the southeast security trust fund.

So far, governors of Ebonyi and Abia State, as well as the Deputy Governor of Anambra State have arrived at the venue.

Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State is also expected at the meeting.

Kidnapping, Robbery: Police Arrest 53 Suspects In Abia

 

The police have arrested 53 kidnap and robbery suspects, through a tip-off from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT), while 22 have been charged to Court in Abia state.

According to the Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon, during a press conference held at Police Headquarters in Umuahia, revealed that the introduction of operation Puff Adder launched in the state command is yielding the desired results.

He added that a total of eighty ammunition, firearms and other stolen items have been recovered from the suspects.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Sister-In-Law To Governor Bello’s Chief Of Staff

The police boss stressed that three suspected kidnappers and their armourer were also arrested.

“The arrest of three notorious kidnappers and recovery of firearms following a tip-off generated from the IGP IRT team. The team arrested three suspected notorious kidnappers, alongside their armourer, a 65-year-old man who hails from Abia state.

“All the suspects confessed to several kidnapping incidents around Aba. The police are not resting; we are hunting for other gang members.

“A total of 80 ammunitions, firearms and other stolen items have been recovered by the Abia State Police Command, and 53 suspects involved arrested while 22 have been charged to Court.”

Otti, Ogar Reject Result Of Abia Governorship Election, Say It’s A ‘Sham’

 

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Dr. Alex Otti and that of the All Progressive Congress, Dr. Uche Ogar in Abia State, have rejected the result of the governorship election.

At a joint press conference in Umuahia, the state capital, shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the results on Sunday, both candidates described the election as a ‘sham’.

The Returning Officer, Professor Damian Ozurumba, had declared Ikpeazu winner of the poll after he secured 261,127 votes, more than double the 99, 574 votes polled by Ogar and 64,366 votes polled by Otti.

Otti alleged that INEC once again, breached its guidelines, adding that the results do not represent the true wishes of the people.

Read Also: PDP’s Okezie Ikpeazu Re-Elected As Abia Governor

He further stated that any result that does not agree with the card readers will not be accepted.

Both candidates, therefore, gave INEC the next 24 hours to cancel the election, adding that both parties are willing to present themselves when the Commission is ready to conduct a free and fair election in the state.

 

Kidnapped Abia APC Chairman Regains Freedom

IPOB Sit At Home Protest: Police Warn Against Unlawful Activities

The Chairman of the All Progressive Congress in Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, who was kidnapped on Monday night has regained his freedom.

The state police and publicity secretary of the party confirmed the news to journalists on Friday.

They, however, gave no information about any rescue or arrest of the abductors.

Read Also: Planned Arraignment Of Ex-NIA DG, Wife Fails To Hold Today

It was also not disclosed if any ransom was paid to secure the release.

The kidnapped State chairman is yet to comment on his ordeal during the three-day abduction. He has, however, been reunited with his family.

Abia Police Summons Traditional Rulers Over Herdsmen/Farmers Clash

The Abia State Command on Thursday held a meeting with herdsmen and farmers at the police officer’s mess in Umuahia, the state capital.

In attendance were security agencies, traditional rulers, Hausa Saraki, the leadership of Miyetti Allah amongst others.

Though the agenda of the meeting is yet to be clear, it may be connected to issues of cattle colony and finding a lasting solution to incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes and also ensuring a peaceful coexistence between both parties.

 

Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-Abia Governor, Orji Kalu

Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Judge's Absence Stalls Kalu’s Trial
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A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to January 22 and 23rd.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the proceedings after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to produce one of its major witnesses in court.

The former governor is being tried on a 34 count charge alongside one of his aides, Udeh Udeogu and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N2.9bn from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

They have however pleaded not guilty.

READ ALSO: EFCC Re-arraigns Former FCT Minister, Jumoke Akinjide

At the resumed proceedings of the case today, January 16, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told Justice Idris that the witness in question, one M.A. Udoh had been evasive, and the anti-graft agency was having difficulty bringing him to court.

He urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to locate and bring the witness, a retired employee of the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, to court to testify.

The defence counsel promptly opposed the move for an adjournment, describing it as frivolous.

They expressed disappointment at the EFCC’s request for an adjournment and indicated their readiness to continue. They also told the court that most of them had flown to Lagos from Abuja just to ensure that there was no further delay in the case that had lasted for over 10 years.

The defence then urged the court to either foreclose the prosecution’s case or in the alternative order the EFCC to bear the cost of their transportation and hotel accommodation.

But the EFCC prosecutor countered by reminding the court that the case was delayed for over 10 years at the instance of the defendants who pursued an interlocutory appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Idris described the development as unfortunate.

He noted that the case had been adjourned on four different occasions at the request of the prosecution.

Though he conceded to an adjournment, the judge warned that it would be the last of its kind.

He then fixed further proceedings for January 22 and 23rd.