Alleged N26m Fraud: Fani-Kayode’s Trial Adjourned Till April 25

Fani-Kayode, EFCC ArrestsThe non-availability of prosecution witnesses stalled the trial of the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Fani-Kayode, who was also the Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign team for former President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 election, is being prosecuted by the Federal Government over allegation of 26 million Naira fraud allegedly perpetuated during the campaign.

He was alleged to have illegally received 26 million Naira from former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, to organise media campaign for former President Jonathan’s re-election bid.

At a resumed hearing, the EFCC lawyer, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, expressed surprise over the absence of the prosecution witness in court.

He subsequently asked the court for an adjournment to enable him put his house in order.

However, Mr Ojogbane did not adduce any reason before the court as to why the prosecution witness who was to lead evidence against Mr Fani-Kayode was not in court.

In view of the development, Counsel to the former Minister, Mr Ahmed Raji, did not oppose to the application for adjournment.

Justice Tsoho adjourned the case till April 25, 2017 for the prosecution to open its case.

Supreme Court Gives Reasons For Judgement On Kogi Governorship Tussle

Supreme Court, Kogi GovernorshipThe Supreme Court has given reasons why it upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

The Court held that Mr‎ James Faleke, the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election cannot be declared winner of the poll having failed to participate in the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress.

The apex court, among others, said that Faleke, whose joint ticket with the governorship candidate of the party, late Prince Abubakar Audu, had garnered 240,873 votes before Audu died, cannot benefit from the vote or take the place of Audu, because he did not meet the condition precedent.

In the reasons, advanced for the summary judgment, delivered on September 20, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, held that Faleke did not obtain nomination form, did not participate in the primary election and as such, cannot under any circumstances, be made the governorship candidate to replace Audu.

Besides, Justice Kekere-Ekun said that before the sudden death of Audu, after the November 21 governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had already declared the election inconclusive and that since the election, had not been completed and the final result issued by the electoral body, Faleke, as a running mate, cannot claim ‎victory in the election.

The apex court upheld the substitution of Yahaya Bello to replace Audu because in the face of the law, Bello obtained nomination form, took part in the primary election and came second, unlike Faleke who did not meet that condition.

Faleke’s Argument

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Mr James Falake was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the conclusion of the governorship election that was to see him elected as governor.

Yahaya Bello was then presented by the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as replacement for Audu, a decision Mr Faleke challenged, arguing that he should have stepped into the position, having together with the late Audu gone through the election process.

He approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the judgement of the election tribunal and Appeal Court which both upheld Yahaya’s eligibility.

There had been four appeals against the Court of Appeal rulings with the Supreme Court expected to decide if Mr Bello should continue as Kogi governor or vacate office.

One of the appeals was by the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the opposition PDP, Idris Wada.

The Supreme Court went ahead to uphold the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

 

Kogi Governorship: Bello Calls Victory “Act Of God”

Kogi, Yahaya Bello, Supreme CourtKogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has described his victory at the Supreme Court as an act of God, saying it shows that Nigeria honours democracy.

Governor Bello made the declaration in statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mr Kingsley Fanwon, after the judgement.

He said his victory at the Supreme Court was a big honour to democracy.

The Governor dedicated the victory to the people of Kogi State who believed in transforming the state from potentially great state to a really great state.

However, he warned his supporters against unbridled celebration, saying the moment was a challenge to the state’s residents to reflect on how to make the state great.

Governor Bello pledged to continue to pursue his cardinal goals of improving education, reinventing healthcare, boosting infrastructural development and raising the capacity of the state’s citizens to reinvigorate the economy.

He thanked the judiciary for raising to the occasion and standing firm with what he said was true and just.

Supreme Court Ruling

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

A seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30.

In a swift reaction, the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Mr Idris Wada, said he was yet to study the judgement.

Mr Wada, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr Jacob Edi, noted that he cannot make any comment until a copy of the Supreme Court judgement was made available to him.

Supreme Court Upholds Yahaya Bello’s Election As Kogi Governor

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court has upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30.

There had been four appeals against the Court of Appeal rulings with the Supreme Court expected to decide if Mr Bello should continue as Kogi governor or vacate office.

One of the appeals was by the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the opposition PDP, Idris Wada, while another was by Mr James Faleke who was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu.

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Mr James Falake was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the conclusion of the governorship election that was to see him elected as governor.

Yahaya Bello was then presented by the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as replacement for Audu, a decision Mr Faleke challenged, arguing that he should have stepped into the position, having together with the late Audu gone through the election process.

He approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the judgement of the election tribunal and Appeal Court which both upheld Yahaya’s eligibility.

Law and Order

It is expected that Kogi State would be peaceful in spite of the judgment which would be met with different reactions by parties involved.

The Kogi State Police Command had warned that it would deal decisively, in accordance of the law, with anyone caught taking laws into his hands, as the Supreme Court delivers its judgment.

The State Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Chafi, gave the warning while addressing newsmen at his office on Friday.

The CP further stressed that intelligent report reaching the command revealed that some miscreants were planning to create crisis before, during and after the Supreme Court judgement.

While warning parents to caution their wards, political party heads and their supporters, he said that his command was fully ready to deal with whoever disobeys the law.

He also placed a ban on any kind of public celebration by anybody or groups after the court judgement.

Appeal Court Dismisses Faleke’s Appeal Against Yahaya Bello’s Election

James Faleke, Yahaya Bello, APC, Kogi State, Appeal Court
Mr James Faleke

The Court of Appeal  sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by Mr James Faleke, challenging the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as Kogi State Governor.

The 5-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ruled that Faleke’s case lacks merit.

The appellate court had earlier reserved the judgment after hearing submission from all parties involved in the matter.

Counsel for Faleke, Akin Olujimi, had urged the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the Kogi election tribunal and invalidate the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that Bello was not properly nominated.

He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in the re-run election.

Yahaya Bello
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

In his own submission, Joseph Daodu, who is counsel for Governor Bello, insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.

Daodu submitted that Governor Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the existing law and authority of the party remained the candidate of his party in the election.

Counsel for INEC, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that he was properly nominated by APC as a replacement to Abubakar Audu who passed away during the election.

The Tribunal

Mr James Faleke ran as deputy governorship candidate with Mr. Audu. It looked as though they were coasting to victory before Mr. Audu suddenly died.


INEC declared the election inconclusive and asked the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased. Mr. Yahaya Bello was nominated and he nominated Mr. Faleke as his deputy, an offer the latter refused.

A three-man tribunal led by Justice Halima Mohammed, on June 6, held that Faleke lacked locus standi to challenge Bello’s election having never been sponsored by his party, the APC, as a governorship candidate in both the November 21, 2015 election and the December 6, 2015 supplementary poll.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Halima Mohammed, who read the judgment in the petition filed by Mr Faleke, threw away the petition for lacking in merit.

She said the fact that INEC declared the election of November 21, 2015 inconclusive meant no governor or deputy governor-elect emerged, and Mr Faleke therefore had no basis to challenge the nomination of Mr Bello to replace the late Mr Audu.

 

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment on Kogi Election Petition

Appeal Court, kogi electionAppeal court Abuja division has reserved judgement in Kogi governorship legal tussle till a date to be communicated to parties.

The appellate court reserved the judgment after hearing submission from all parties involved in the matter.

The appeals were filed by James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Counsel for Faleke, Akin Olujimi, urged the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and invalidate the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that Bello was not properly nominated.

He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in re-run election.

In his own submission, Joseph Daodu, who is counsel for Governor Bello, insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.

Daodu submitted that Governor Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the existing law and authority of the party remained the candidate of his party in the election.

While counsel for INEC, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that he was properly nominated by APC as a replacement to Abubakar Audu who passed away during the election.

Justice Hannatu Sankey, who presided over the sitting announced that the date for judgment would be communicated to parties in the matter.

Alleged N32 Billion Fraud: Dasuki’s Absence Stalls Trial

Sambo-Dasuki-trial-2016The trial of former National Security Adviser, Clo. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) was on Wednesday stalled due to the inability of the prosecutors to produce him in court.

The erstwhile security chief was alleged to have refused to appear in court.

At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told Justice Baba Yusuf that Mr. Dasuki refused to be in court on the grounds that his lawyers, Joseph Daudu and Ahmed Raji, would not be in court.

He also added that he tried to convince the defendant to come to court and see how the proceedings would be conducted, but he (Dasuki) refused.

Mr Jacobs, therefore urged the court to commence trial in the absence of the defendant.

However, defence counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, urged Justice Baba Yusuf to disregard the claim of the prosecution, maintaining that as of Wednesday, Mr. Dasuki was still denied access to his lawyers.

Mr. Balogun described Mr Jacob’s claim, allegedly obtained from a third party, that Mr Dasuki’s lawyers never attempted to see him as “baseless and unwarranted”

Mr. Dasuki’s lawyer said on the contrary it was the SSS and the prosecution that scuttled the trial by their deliberate refusal to produce the defendant who has been in their custody since last year in court.

The presiding judge, in his remarks, said the case cannot commence without the defendant.

Justice Yusuf therefore adjourned the case to April 6 for the prosecution to produce the defendant in court.

‎The anti-graft agency had in the charge it filed before an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, alleged that Dasuki connived with the erstwhile Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu and a former Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ‎Aminu Baba-Kusa‎, and diverted public funds to the tune of N32billion.

Two companies, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited, which allegedly served as conduit pipes through which the fund was allegedly siphoned from accounts the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions, were also joined as defendants to the charge.

N1.04trn Fine: Court Adjourns MTN’s Case Against NCC Till March 18

NCCA Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till March 18, the suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to challenge the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

The court’s adjournment was sequel to a request by the telecommunication outfit for more time to pursue an out of court settlement.

MTN had in December 2015 filed the suit through its lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), arguing that the NCC being a regulator, cannot assume all the functions of the state on its own, considering the fact that they made the regulation, prescribed the penalty and imposed the fine, which is payable to the commission and not the Federal Government.

The telecommunication company also claimed that it was not afforded its constitutional right of fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction and more importantly, it had not been found guilty of any offence that will warrant it to pay such an outrageous fine.

The NCC in response urged the court in a motion on notice filed through its lawyers, Ahmed Raji (SAN) and Mahmud Magaji (SAN), to dismiss or decline to hear the suit for want of jurisdiction, or send it to Abuja.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, Chief Olanipekun informed the court that parties are already discussing on how to resolve the matter amicably.

The lawyer then asked for a 60-day period from the court to allow for the discussions.

But counsel to the NCC, Yusuf Alli (SAN) urged the court to go ahead with the hearing of the matter as he was not aware of any ongoing discussion for settlement among parties.

On his part, lawyer to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), also expressed reservations on the application for adjournment.

The silk urged the court to make a consequential order that all the processes filed is deemed as properly filed and served.

Justice Idris, in a short ruling, held that all the preliminary objections and substantive applications shall be taken together while all the processes filed shall be deemed as properly filed and served.

The court then adjourned the matter till March 18, for a report of settlement or for hearing.

Lawyer Confirms Dasuki’s Re-Arrest  

dasukiA Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer to the embattled former National Security Adviser, Mr Ahmed Raji, has confirmed the re-arrest of his client, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) shortly after he was released on bail from Kuje prisons.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja, Mr Raji said that no reason was given by the security agents for the re-arrest of Colonel Dasuki who was granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja high court.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki is currently standing trial before different courts in Abuja over alleged criminal diversion of 2.1 billion dollars meant for the purchase of arms.

The DSS took custody of  Dasuki shortly after perfecting the third bail granted him by Justice Peter Affem after two other courts had done same.

The former NSA had been granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja High Court each in the sum of 250 million naira.

Lawyer Says Dasuki Did Not Implicate Anyone

Lawyer Says Dasuki Did Not Implicate AnyoneLawyer to the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Ahmed Raji, says his client did not implicate anyone by his statements.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd)’s lawyer made the declaration on Thursday while speaking during an interview with Channels Television in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Having said the statement was not a deposition, Raji confirmed that some of the reports in the media were true statements made by his client to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

‘Bogus And Untrue’

Although, the legal practitioner has some comments to make on the letters from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the EFCC, regarding release of funds, he was quick to reject some of the figures that were published, saying they were ‘bogus and untrue’.

He maintained that the release of funds were made as admitted by his client, adding that the true nature and reasons for the statements would be made known when his trial commences.

Various media reports had on Monday alleged that the statements made by Colonel Dasuki laid credence to the charges brought against him by the EFCC.

Following his removal by President Muhammadu Buhari, Colonel Dasuki was charged for unlawful possession of weapons and money laundering, by the Department Of State Services.

He was also accused by the EFCC of stealing, criminal breach of trust and illegal transfer of funds belonging to the Federal Government.

Fayose Impeachment: Court Fixes June 5 For Suit Challenging Jurisdiction

FayoseA Federal High Court in Abuja has reserved ruling till June 5 to decide whether it has jurisdiction in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party faction of the Ekiti State House of Assembly challenging the planned impeachment of Governor Ayo Fayose.

Lawyer to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ekiti State House of Assembly had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit on the grounds that it is an abuse of court process.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, the All Progressives Congress (APC) questioned the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit because a similar suit had been filled in another court as such it would amount to an abuse of court processes.

However, the lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who opposed the application, asked the court to alternatively transfer the case to the Ekiti State division of the Federal High Court so that all the parties can have their day in court.

When asked if the case would not be futile because the seventh assembly is winding down already, Counsel to APC, Terrence Vembe, said that the legislators are free to go ahead with the case.

“We are concerned with what is going on in court here. I’m not in Ekiti, I’ve not been there for a very long time. I only know about what is going on in the court.

“The legislators are very free as air to go ahead with what they are doing (because) in the first place they are not under any obligation to obey an order of a court that does not have jurisdiction.”

However, Counsel to the PDP, Ahmed Raji, was of the view that once the new parliament comes in they may have to reconsider their stance as to whether or not to go on with the matter.

“The whole idea is to forestall an illegal impeachment, an unconstitutional impeachment, an unlawful one for that matter.

“If that threat is no longer there, the rightful thing to do is to discontinue the suit,” he said.

For now, observers are watching the outcome of this and similar suits which bothered on the impeachment of Governor Ayo Fayose.

Fayose Withdraws Suit Seeking To Stop His Impeachment 

fayoseGovernor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti has withdrawn the suit seeking to stop the All Progressive Congress’ members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly from impeaching him and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola.

Governor,Fayose and Olusola through their counsel, Ahmed Raji, had approached the court few week ago, requesting that the court should stop the impeachment moves against the governor.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Mr Raji informed  the court of his clients intention to withdraw the case.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, consequently struck out the case.

He, however,  did not give any reason for the withdrawal.

However,  a fresh suit on the issue filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the State House of Assembly is still pending  before Justice Evoh Chukwu of the same Federal High Court.