A judge of the Lagos State High Court on Wednesday struck out the case of CEO of Innoson motors Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma, due to the inability of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce him in court.
The judge, Olusola Williams, while striking out the case, said a criminal matter can always be instituted whenever the prosecution is prepared.
The judge said the court cannot continue to waste precious time calling for a matter adding that the criminal matter can be instituted at any time.
The defendant counsel, Professor Joseph Mbaduga, earlier during the proceeding argued that it is the responsibility of prosecution counsel to produce the defendant to the court, for any jurisdiction to be exercised.
In response to Mbaduga, the EFCC counsel Zainab Ettu told the court that several attempts have been made in producing Innoson.
She added that a warrant of arrest was issued but Innoson has been hiding from operatives to carry out the arrest on him
Chukwuma and his company Innoson Motors Nigeria were to be arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain property by false pretence, stealing and forgery.
Chukuma and his company were first brought before Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on January 17 but he failed to appear before the court in all the adjourned dates.
A Federal High Court in Kano has ordered the forfeiture of the sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000 recovered from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, to the Federal Government.
The order was sequel to an ex parte application by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking an interim forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that the ex parte application was moved by the counsel for the applicant, Salihu Sani.
In her ruling, Justice Zainab Abubakar held that “the sum of $9,772,000 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand United States Dollars) and £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling), which are now in the custody of the applicant (EFCC), are in the interim forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
The EFCC said that some its operatives on February 3, 2017, stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered a staggering sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000 stashed in a huge fire proof safe.
The commission added that Mr Yakubu reported to its Kano Zonal Office on February 8, 2017 where he admitted being the owner of both the house and the money recovered.
The EFCC said “Yakubu is still in custody assisting the investigation”.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has re-arraigned alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, before Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on a 28-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.
The anti-graft re-arraigned him over an allegation that he defrauded former Chief of Army Staff Lt. Col. Ishaya Bamaiyi in 2004 while they were at both remanded at the Kirikiri Prisons.
The offense is contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.
When the charges were read to him, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” and the counsel to the EFCC, Saidu Ateh proceeded to ask the court for a trial date.
But the counsel to the defendant, Norrison Quakers (SAN) urged Justice Jose to be bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal granting the defendant bail.
Justice Jose asked the counsel to file a new application for bail to be heard on the next adjourned date.
The matter was adjourned to September 15, 2016 for trial.
The matter was initially before Justice Atinuke Ipaye and was later transferred to Justice Kudirat Jose after Ajudua’s co-defendant, the former registrar of the court, Olorunke Idowu Rosulu opted for separate trial.
Rosulu had since been jailed for 10 years over the allegations.
Judgment in the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, challenging his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was not delivered on Monday after Mr Tarfa put fresh facts before the court.
In the fresh affidavit, a former staff of Mr Tarfa’s law firm, one Mohammed Awwal Yinusa, said the 225,000 Naira, which the EFCC claimed was to bribe the judge, was actually paid to him.
The former staff claimed that the account number quoted by the EFCC actually belonged to him.
The case has generated so much interest and everyone was eager to hear the judgment of the fundamental rights enforcement filed by Mr Tarfa.
Mr Tarfa wanted the court to declare that his arrest and detention was illegal.
Amongst other things, he asked the court to award 2.5 billion Naira in his favour and against the EFCC, its acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu and two operatives of the commission, all of whom he listed as respondents in the suit.
But fresh facts brought by the senior lawyer stalled the judgment.
In a further and better affidavit introducing the fresh facts, a former staff of Mr Tarfa’s law firm, Yinusa, who shared similar names with Justice Mohammed Yinusa, claimed ownership of the account which Mr Tarfa paid in 225,000 Naira.
The EFCC had claimed that Mr Tarfa bribed the judge with the money.
Mr Tarfa’s lawyer also said that it was in the interest and for the advancement of justice that the court allowed the fresh evidence for the effectual and effective determination of the suit.
But the EFCC said the action was an afterthought and an attempt to mislead the court.
The EFCC also told the court that Mr Tarfa in his extra-judicial statements to the EFCC consistently put his age at 43 instead of 54, a situation that Mr Tarfa’s lawyer said was a mistake which was corrected in the body of the statement he put before the court.
Justice Mohammed Idris has listened to all the arguments and fixed March 2 for his ruling on whether to allow Mr Tarfa adduce fresh facts in the enforcement of his Fundamental Rights Suit before the court.
The Nigerian Navy has arrested a ship loaded with 670 metric tonnes of product suspected to be crude oil on the Forcados River in Delta State.
The detention of the 106 meters long boat named Eyuwa was made by men of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta on December 14.
The Flag Officers Commanding Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, made the disclosure while conducting reporters round the detained ship.
The Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Rahimi Muhammed, also expressed joy that the Nigerian Navy is relentlessly winning the war against criminal elements sabotaging the nation’s economy.
Men of the Nigerian Navy Ship, Beecroft, had during a routine patrol, intercepted a vessel, MT Asteris, and its crew in Lagos on March 26 while trying to export the stolen product.
They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on June 18 before the Federal High Court on a four count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
In his ruling, Justice Ibrahim Buba sentenced the five Filipinos and four Bangladeshi nationals to a jail term of five years each on the four counts with an option of a five million Naira fine for each count.
The sentences were to run concurrently as the convicts could either choose to spend five years each in prison or pay the fine of 20 million Naira each.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted and sentenced nine foreigners for stealing 3,423.097 metric tonnes of crude oil from Nigeria.
The vessel, MT Asteris, and its crew were intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Ship, Beecroft, during a routine patrol in Lagos on March 26, while trying to export the stolen product.
Upon interrogation, the Captain or any of the crew members could not produce any relevant document authorising the lifting and destination of the petroleum products they had on board.
They were arrested and after investigation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on June 18 arraigned the foreigners and their vessel before Justice Ibrahim Buba on a four-count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 17 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act of 2004.
When the charges were read to the accused persons, they all pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of 50 million Naira each.
Their trial commenced on June 23 and the EFCC called six witnesses in proof of its case against the foreigners before the court finally arrived at a guilty verdict six months later.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Buba said he was satisfied that the EFCC proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge said the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were not controverted and the failure of the convicts to supply evidence that they had a lawful permit to deal in crude oil further strengthened the prosecution’s case that they were trying to export the stolen product.
Justice Buba reaffirmed the court’s commitment to sending a strong signal to Nigerians and foreigners alike that the country had laws and the laws were enforceable.
He then sentenced the five Filipinos and four Bangladeshi nationals to a jail term of five years each on the four counts with an option of a five million Naira fine for each count.
The sentences were to run concurrently as the convicts could either choose to spend five years each in prison or pay the fine of 20 million Naira each.
Their vessel and the cargo on board are to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
A man that has sent a petition to the Nigerian Senate against the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday listed some alleged figures in a document containing his claims.
Mr George Uboh on Wednesday appeared before the Senate to present the evidence, a meeting that the EFCC was meant to attend but did not show up.
On Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme, Mr Uboh said he had received the overwhelming evidence he had in 2014 and that the compilation had been ongoing prior to that time.
Mr Uboh is from Delta State, but he had volunteered to help the Bayelsa State government recover an alleged unremitted sum which was part of the funds recovered from a former Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by the EFCC.
Giving his reason for choosing to go all out for the alleged Bayelsa State unremitted funds, he said: “My whistle blowing quest is based on real evidence. The EFCC has given me contract, but I love my country more and the love I have for my country is paramount.
“I chose Bayelsa because the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, is from Bayelsa State.
“Ninety-five per cent of offshore Seizures that the EFCC make never make it to Nigeria.
“In 2009, Nuhu Ribadu (a former EFCC boss), in US, stated that houses were seized from Alamieyeseigha valued over 10 million pounds in US, Cyprus, Denmark… £1 million cash was found, £2 million in Royal Bank, house in Cape Town.
“All they reported in Nigeria is 1.5 billion Naira and $250 million in Nigeria and $1.3 million dollars.
“The EFCC traded with these funds and the funds ballooned and they refunded 3.1 billion Naira to Bayelsa State,” he claimed.
According to him, the Governor of the State had at that time asked him to withdraw the issue from court after he was earlier given a mandate to help the state recover the alleged unremitted fund.
“At the time I waded into the matter, EFCC had a balance of 1.4 billion Naira and 1.3 million dollars in 2013.
“I met with the Governor of the State, at the time I had written EFCC.
“They replied and gave me a date of December 2013.
“They said they will refund the money by the beginning of 2014. The EFCC was dragged to court, which the Governor later denied.
“The Governor made it clear that he did not want to take the matter to court, asking me to withdraw the case,” the petitioner explained.
Mr Uboh claimed that the Governor must have asked for the withdrawal of the case because of an alleged intimidation by the EFCC
“The EFCC has intimidated sitting governors. The EFCC is a country within a country. When I refused to withdraw the case, the state sent me a letter terminating my mandate and discontinued the case I have in court.
“When I got to court, someone in that courtroom congratulated me for my efforts to fight corruption, saying there is a corruption going on in the court of 3.1 billion dollars.
“The EFCC has intimidated anybody and everybody that has had the platform to speak against them
“The reason I mentioned over two trillion Naira recovered is because I know that Nigerians want to hear the figure,” he said.
Boxes Of Evidence
The petitioner claimed that he had huge evidence against the anti-grant agency which he would disseminate.
“I have three boxes of evidence and I am going to disseminate all of them and if I die today, I have disciples that will disseminate them.
“In a letter dated December 2, 2011 sent to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, from EFCC, the anti-draft agencies gave a summary of recoveries for eight financial year the aggregate Naira recovery was 1.3 trillion Naira.
“In 2013 the EFCC came out with another report covering 2003 to 2013 that is 11 financial years. The aggregate Naira recovery became 497 billion Naira. Why would eight financial year recovery be over eight hundred billion Naira more than 11 years financial record?
The EFCC has, however, denied the allegations, claiming that Mr Uboh was an ex-convict trying to derail the anti-grant agency from its war on corruption that is ongoing.
But Mr Udoh dismissed the claims of the EFCC, explaining that he won the case against him in the US which the EFCC had mentioned.
Explaining his trial and the allegation levelled against him in the US, Mr Udoh said: “I was arrested on February 14 1992 and was charged with conspiracy to import 250 kg of heroin and anyone conversant with the law of the United States should know that that is a life sentence. I was charged with conspiracy to distribute 10kg of cocaine and was charged with conspiracy for credit card fraud.
“The prosecution got conviction for credit card fraud and dismissed the drug cases.
“In spite of the fact that we sent a letter to the Senate that we will come on a later date, the Senate went ahead with the hearing.
“The issue is one that Nigerians with conscience should take critical look at.
“It is a plight to derail the anti-corruption fight of the new administration. When a suspect that is under trail by a law enforcement agency takes a matter to the National Assembly, it amounts to us as a distraction,” he insisted.
The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has granted a request for a separate trial made by a High Court registrar, Mrs Oluronke Idowu Rosulu, who is accused of aiding Mr. Fred Ajudua to scam a former Army General, Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4 million.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye granted Rosulu’s application on the ground that she has a right to a separate hearing.
Mrs Rosulu, through her counsel, had filed an application seeking to separate the charges against her from those of Mr Ajudua.
The registrar who has since been suspended by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission hinged the application on three grounds bordering on speedy trial. She wants the matter dispensed before her retirement next year.
Ruling on the application which was vehemently opposed by the prosecution counsel, Mr Saidu Atteh and Ajudua’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, the trial judge said considering the time taken for the eventual arraignment of the 1st defendant (Ajudua) and his various pending applications before the court and Lagos Court of Appeal, it would amount to injustice not to grant the 2nd defendant (Rosulu) a separate trial.
Earlier The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Ajudua to court for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of about $8.4million.
The EFCC alleged that Ajudua conspired with others (now at large) to perpetrate the fraud between November 2004 and June 2005.
In the amended charges, Rosulu, a court registrar with Justice Olubunmi Oyewole (now of the Appeal Court) is accused of aiding Mr Ajudua to scam the former military officer.
According to the EFCC, Ajudua funneled the sum of $330,000 through Mrs Rosulu and others to defraud Bamaiyi while they were both on remand at Kirikiri prison in Lagos for separate alleged crimes.
The commission said Ajudua obtained the money from Bamaiyi by claiming that it represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his case and also as funds to bribe the judge hearing his case.
Others listed in the scheme include Ademilue Adedeji (aka Ade Bendel), one Mr Jonathan, one Mr Kenneth, and Princess Hamabon William. The other accused suspects are currently fugitives.
The Federal High Court in Lagos, has adjourned case ruling on September 26,on a ‘no case submission’ filed by the Speaker of Lagos State Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji.
The Speaker is standing trial before the court alongside his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, on an amended 56-count charge bordering on laundering about 500 Million Naira.
After the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, closed its case in proof of the charges against the two men, the defence team led by, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN filed a ‘no case submission’.
They submitted among other things that the EFCC had not succeeded in making a case against their client to warrant him to open a defence.
After considering the heavy work load of his court, Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba who had initially fixed Friday, for the ruling said it was impossible for him to conclude his ruling on the ‘no case submission’ and refused the request of the defence counsel, for the ruling to be delivered during the period of the vacation of the court.
The Federal High Court is scheduled to begin its annual vacation on Monday,July 14. The court is expected to resume for the new Legal year on September.
The EFCC represented by Mr Edward Okpe, had objected to the ruling on the ‘no case submission’ been delivered during the vacation period.
In a short ruling, Justice Buba held that “since the prosecution has refused that the ruling be delivered during vacation, and considering the legality of doing so, this matter stands adjourned to Sept. 26.
It will be recalled that the accused persons were re-arraigned before Justice Buba, on June 24, 2013, following the retirement of Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the former judge.
They had however pleaded not guilty to the charges and Justice Buba had granted them bail in the sum of one Billion Naira each with two sureties each in the sum of 500 Million Naira.
The prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) had called two witnesses Mr Adebayo Adeniyi, a Principal Detective Supritendant and a former clerk of the house, Mr Adewale Olatunji in proof of the EFCC’s case against the accused persons.
He closed the case of the prosecution on June 20, 2014.
The defence team on July 7, argued a “no case submission” on behalf of the accused persons urging the court to discharge and acquit them of all the charges.
The prosecutor had however, raised objection to the submissions of the defence team and had also urged the court to order the accused persons to open their defence. The court had reserved ruling on the submissions.
In the charge, the accused persons were alleged to have committed the offence between April 2010 and July 2011 respectively.
They were also alleged to have committed an illegal act of accepting cash payments of over 273 Million Naira from the Lagos State. House of Assembly without going through a financial institution.
Hon Ikuforiji was also alleged to have used his position to misappropriate about 500 Million Naira of the Assembly’s funds.
The offence is said to contravene the provisions of section 18(a) of the money laundering (prohibition) Act 2011.
Trial of the fuel subsidy fraud case filed by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Mahmud Tukur, son of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur and others, is to begin in May, after a failed attempt to settle out of court.
Mahmud Tukur, Alex Ochongor, their firm, Eterna Oil and Gas, and Abdullahi Alao, son of Ibadan-based businessman, Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao, are facing nine counts of fuel subsidy fraud amounting to about N1.2 billion before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Tayo Olukotun, told the presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday that the settlement talks had “hit brick wall” and the lead prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs had asked him to pick a date for trial.
His position is, however, different from that of the counsel for Mahmud Tukur, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), who told the court that the talks were awaiting the input of Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, the chairman of the EFCC.
When the Judge sought clarification on the actual status of the talks, Mr Oyetibo said the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr Jacobs had told him that the chairman of the EFCC was not available last week and so the defence was looking at picking a date in early March to meet him and continue the talks.
Mr Oyetibo, however, expressed dissatisfaction over Mr Jacobs’ failure to communicate the latest development to the prosecuting team.
At the previous proceedings of December 13, 2012, the defendants, Mahmud Tukur and Alex Ochonogor had, through their counsel, sought for time to conclude the settlement talks with the EFCC.
Justice Onigbanjo has, however, fixed the 6th and 7th of May for the commencement of trial following the disagreement of the parties in the settlement talks.
The Judge also granted Abdullai Alao permission to travel to the United States of America for the treatment of his son.
The documents are to be returned to the custody of the EFCC on or before the 24th of February.
The other two defendants, Tukur and Ochonogor have also indicated to the court that they would be filing similar application to embark on a business trip to South Africa.
It will be recalled that Justice Onigbanjo had on December 13, 2012 granted similar application to the duo for business trips to the United Kingdom and France, asking them to return their passports to the EFCC on or before January 25.