Court Commences Hearing Of Maurice Iwu’s Bail Application

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State has commenced the hearing of the bail application by the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Maurice Iwu.

The bail application is currently being heard by Justice Chuka Obiozor, at the end of which the former INEC boss would know whether or not he will be released from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Professor Iwu is facing four charges of concealment, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N1.2bn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

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In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the above sum between December 2014 and March 2015.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush funds allegedly shared by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Professor Iwu has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer, Ahmad Raji (SAN) has asked the court to grant him bail on the grounds of self-recognizance and secondly on liberal terms.

Bail Application: El-Zakzaky To Know Fate Today

Court To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application August 5
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

 

 

The Kaduna State High Court will rule on the bail application filed by the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.

This comes one week after the Justice Darius Khobo adjourned till August 5 after listening to the submissions from parties involved in the matter.

A human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, had filed the application on behalf of his clients on July 18.

They are seeking permission to travel abroad for further medical treatment following the health condition of the Shiites’ leader.

READ ALSO: Police Warn Against Unlawful Protest Ahead Of Trial Resumption

At the resumed hearing on Monday last week, Falana told Justice Khobo that his clients were not in court due to their bad health condition.

He said the health condition of his clients was getting worse by the day, adding that only a foreign medical treatment was required to stabilise them to enable them face the main trial.

On his part, the prosecuting counsel Debris Bayero opposed the bail application, saying El-Zakzaky’s medical condition can be treated in the country.

He informed the court that there was no need to release the Shiites’ leader on bail to travel abroad.

El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing an eight-count of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace.

The charges were filed against them by the Kaduna State Government and the duo were first arraigned in May 2018.

Ahead of today’s sitting, the Kaduna State Police Command gave assurance that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free court process.

It also vowed to deal decisively with any person or group of persons who deliberately attempt to violate the ban on all forms of processions and demonstrations across the state.

According to the command, there will be traffic diversion in some areas during the court session, including Independence Way, Bida Road and all other roads leading to Ibrahim Taiwo Road where the court is located.

The police urged the residents to remain calm and not to be apprehensive where they observe unusual number of security personnel in the town.

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta’s Trial Stalled

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta's Trial StalledA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has adjourned the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, to January 18 and 23, 2017.

The Supreme Court Justice, is standing trial for corruption, alleged money laundering, breach of professional ethics and passport forgery related offenses.

The adjournment followed an application by the counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Chief Kanu Agabi, who told the court that he needed more time to prepare for trials as some documents given to him by the prosecution still needed to be studied.

This did not go down well with the prosecutor who urged the court to turn down the application.

However, trial judge, Justice John Tsoho delivered his ruling in favour of the defendant, Ngwuta, on the ground that section 36 of the constitution allows a defendant time to prepare for his defense.

He also added that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, also allows parties in a suit to at least five request for adjournment, afterwhich he adjourned the case.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the justices arrested and detained by the department of state services on October 8, 2016 for corruption and breach of professional ethics.

In November, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta had entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges leveled against him by the federal government.

He was also been granted bail in the sum of 100 million Naira on self-recognition.

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On Bail

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On BailJustice Baba Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 4, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to release the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed on bail.

The erstwhile Minister had been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since October 24, 2016 when he honoured the invitation of commission.

The Court granted him bail with two sureties who must have landed property within the Abuja Municipality with Certificate of Occupancy.

In granting the application for bail filed by the lead counsel to Mr Mohammed, Chris Uche, the High Court took a swipe at the EFCC for manifesting contradictions and for lying under oath with the depositions in the counter affidavit it filed challenging the bail application.

The court adjourned the matter till December 14, 2016 for the hearing of the substantive suit for the enforcement of the fundamentalist rights of the former minister.

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta Pleads Not Guilty, Granted Bail

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta Pleads Not GuiltyJustice Sylvester Ngwuta has entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges of money laundering, breach of professional ethics and forgery leveled against him by the federal government.

He has also been granted bail in the sum of 100 million naira on self-recognition.

When the charges were read to him, the Supreme Court judge told the court that he was not guilty of the 15 counts.

Attempt by his lawyer to ask for bail was opposed by the prosecutor, Mr Adeogun Philips who said he had just been served and would need a short adjournment to respond.

With no objection by the defence lawyers, the trial judge, Justice James Tsoho, stood down the case by two hours.

On resumption of hearing on the bail application, counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Kanu Agabi asked the court to release the defendant on self-recognizance, taking judicial notice of the fact that he is a justice of the Supreme Court and the fact that he has been on administrative bail since on October 8, 2016.

Opposing the application, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Charles Philips, said that the defendant cannot be granted bail with respect to his position.

Mr Philips, who referred to charges number three and charges numbers 10-16 against Justice Ngwuta, informed the tribunal that barely 20 minutes after he was released on administrative bail, Justice Ngwuta gave instructions to a witness in the case to remove two or three bags containing 27 million naira from his bathroom at his residence in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.

The prosecuting counsel also told the court that Justice Nwguta also instructed the said witness to remove three exotic cars from his residence on the same day and that they are nowhere to be found. That is what forms the subject of charge number three.

Speaking further he informed the court that in the course of investigation, the Department of State Services (DSS) discovered that Justice Ngwuta maintained multiple identities.

According to him Justice Ngwuta had four passports which he used concurrently.

Although he had reported two of those passports missing, he argued that in any jurisdiction in the world, if a person possesses several identities he cannot be released on self-recognizance.

He therefore asked the court not to grant bail but if it is inclined to, it should grant bail in the most stringent terms.

Reacting to the counter application, counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Mr Kanu Agabi, told the court that he was not willing to join issues with the prosecutor because he had gone into the substantive suit which is not allowed by law and that the constitution is clear as to when bail should be granted or not.

He added that should the court reach its conclusion based on the prosecutor’s submissions, verdict would have been decided before the case is started.

Having listen to both parties, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho stood down the matter for ruling at 2:30PM.

Granted Bail

On resumption, Justice John Tsoho granted bail to Justice Sylvester Ngwuta in the sum of 100 million naira on self-recognizance.

According to Justice Tsoho though the prosecution sought to impress the court on the defendants’ unworthiness for bail, it failed to show that in spite of the concerns raised, the defendant had his administrative bail revoked.

He also added that it is no secret that the security agencies are watching every move made by the judge with kin interest, which is how they found that he had multiple passports.

As such the prosecution should rely on the same security apparatus to prevent any attempt not to be available for trial.

He added that it would be great injustice to prevent any citizen from enjoying bail in available offence.

According to Justice Tsoho, it is on record that the prosecution had filed an affidavit of completion of investigation and on the other hand it is raising objections that witnesses and evidence will be tampered with.

The prosecution, he said, should be able to maintain consistency rather than the inconsistencies.

Justice Tsoho then went on to say that there is no evidence before the court that Justice Ngwuta would not be available for his trial and because the offence for which he is standing trial is bailable, he is inclined to grant bail.

Trial has been fixed for December 7 and 8.

Justice Ngwuta was one of the seven judges arrested after a DSS raid on the homes of High Court and Supreme Court judges across the country on October 8, 2016.

Court Defers Dokpesi’s Bail Application Till Monday

DokpesiA Federal High Court in Abuja has deferred till Monday, in the bail application filed by the founding Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who heard the bail application, said that he could not give ruling immediately because the processes filed by the parties in the suit were presented before him on Thursday.

Justice Kolawole said that he needed to study and assimilate the processes before reaching a decision on the bail application.

He subsequently ordered that Mr Dokpesi be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till December 14.

In his argument, Counsel to the Daar Communication boss, Mike Ozhohome, argued that the offences for which his client was standing trial were bailable offences.

He noted that Mr Dokpesi should be granted bail on self-recognizance or in the most liberal terms.

The Counsel to the EFCC rejected the application for bail on the grounds that he had allegedly uncovered the receipt of over 8.7 billion Naira from the Federal Government for the hosting rights of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2012 by Mr Dokpesi.