Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan’s Aide

Judges, Court, Judges, Court, Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan's AideThe trial of Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, the former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, could not go on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, owing to the absence of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

Presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Idris, told the court that he received a letter from the EFCC counsel seeking for an adjournment.

In the letter, Mr Oyedepo asked the court to grant the adjournment to enable him attend to an appeal filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ricky Tarfa against the commission

Counsel to Mr Dudafa, Gboyega Oyewole, did not object to the request for an adjournment. He however informed the court that he was surprised that his client was not present in court.

Upon enquiry from the prison’s officials, Mr Oyewole said he was told that Dudafa is seriously sick.

He complained about the EFCC treatment of his client.

Justice Mohammed Idris has granted the prosecutor’s application and adjourned the matter till Thursday November 10, for the continuation of the defendants’ trial.

Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris on alleged 5.1 billion naira fraud.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

EFCC Charges Jonathan’s Aide, Waripamo-Owei

EFCC, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, Goodluck JonathanThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 23-count charge against the Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who obtained a copy of the charge, said that Mr Waripamo-Owei was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also known at various times as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

The accused have been scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

PDP BoT, Mantu Group Endorse Caretaker Committee

PDP BoTThe Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  has endorsed the caretaker committee set up by the party’s convention last Saturday in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt.

Also, another faction of the party, known as the concerned stakeholders group, which held a parallel convention in Abuja same day, has teamed up with the PDP caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Both the BOT and the factional group, led by Ibrahim Mantu, made this known at the end of their peace meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

They also directed their members to withdraw pending cases from the courts and set up a committee to meet former acting National Chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Thursday’s meeting followed counter court orders which restrained the factional leaders, Senators Sheriff and Markafi from assuming the mantle of leadership of the party.

In one case, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt granted an interim injunction restraining Senator Sheriff and former secretary, Professor Adewale Oladipo from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

But in a counter ruling, a Federal High Court in Lagos declared as invalid, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee constituted to take over the affairs of the PDP.

Ali Modu Sheriff, Obi Meet With PDP BoT

PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, PDP BoTThe Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are meeting with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Reports say that the meeting has been convened to put a halt to the crisis that the party is presently facing.

After briefly inter-facing with both parties, Ali Modu Sheriff, Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi were asked to excuse the BoT.

Thursday’s meeting comes after counter court orders restrained the parallel leaders from assuming the mantle of leadership of the party.

In one case, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt granted an interim injunction restraining the immediate past National Chairman and National Secretary of the PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff and Professor Adewale Oladipo, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

But in a counter ruling, a Federal High Court in Lagos declared as invalid, the Caretaker Committee constituted to take over the affairs of the PDP from its acting National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Court Stops Arrest Of Kuku Pending Appeal Hearing

Kingsley KukuThe Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies from arresting, probing or prosecuting Mr Kingsley Kuku.

He was a Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs.

Justice Okon Abang had on February 17, in a ruling on a fundamental right suit, instituted by Mr Kuku against the EFCC and others, held that the respondents could arrest, probe and prosecute Mr Kuku over alleged financial impropriety during his tenure.

Dissatisfied with the court’s ruling, Mr Kuku appealed against the verdict and filed a motion for a stay of execution, dated February 23, and supported with an 11 paragraph affidavit, deposed to by one Chinedu Obata before the court.

Justice Abang, who is currently sitting in Abuja Division of the Court, was in Lagos on Tuesday with the permission of the Chief Judge, to deliver his ruling on the application.

Nothing To Lose

The court in its ruling held that the application before the court had nothing to do with the statutory right of the respondents.

Justice Abang ordered the parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of an appeal filed by Mr Kuku on the matter.

“Time cannot run against the State in arresting or prosecuting the applicant if truly, he is culpable of the alleged offence.

“The respondents have nothing to lose if status quo is maintained. So, all action concerning arrest, detention and prosecution of the applicant should hold on for now, till final determination of the appeal on the matter,” the court ruled.

Justice Abang in the earlier judgment, which declared that the anti-graft agency had a right to arrest Mr Kuku, warned the commission not to coerce or threaten anybody to give false statement against the applicant.

Besides, the court also held that if Kuku was arrested, he should not be detained beyond 48 hours because that would contravene Section 35(4) & (5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Mr Kuku had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Immigration Service, alleging that they had “plots to concoct, fabricate or falsify evidence in order to provide a basis for his arrest, detention, persecution and/or prosecution for political reasons”.

According to him, this was “in furtherance of the unconscionable use of the otherwise laudable war against corruption to repress the political opposition constituted by the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the applicant”.

He sought a declaration that any such invitation, arrest, harassment or prosecution on the basis of allegations of corruption in respect to his tenure as Chairman of the Amnesty Programme between 2011 and 2015 was a breach of his right to fair hearing and freedom of movement.

Mr Kuku also sought an order prohibiting the respondents from arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of the allegations.

The Auditor-General of the Federation had raised questions over the alleged mismanagement of funds in reports of audit monitoring and evaluation of the amnesty programme.

Mr Kuku’s lawyer, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, said the respondents were about to abuse the criminal process by seeking to arrest his client.

“There is an illegal and unjustifiable instigation of the criminal process against the applicant in a manner that infringes upon his fundamental rights, as enshrined in Chapter four of the 1999 Constitution,” he said.

Court Renews Order For Tompolo’s Arrest

TompoloA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has renewed its order to all security agencies in Nigeria to compel the attendance in court of former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

Justice Ibrahim Buba reiterated the order, while ruling on an application challenging the substituted service of a 40-count criminal charge on the accused.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the 40-count charge against Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others.

The charge borders on allegations of conversion and theft to the tune of over N13 billion.

Counsel for Tompolo, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, had filed an application on January 27 to challenge the service of the charges on his client based on a defect in the address of service.

The lawyer argued that the charge was effected on ‘Agbanu St’, rather than ‘Agbamu St.’ in Warri, Delta State. He urged the court to hold that service of the charge was not properly effected on the first accused.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Festus Keyamo, however opposed this application.

Justice Ibrahim Buba in his ruling dismissed the application and renewed his order compelling the attendance of Tompolo in court.

The court held that “the EFCC has the power to arrest anyone if it has reasonable belief that such person has committed an offence”.

The court specifically noted that one of the submissions of the EFCC before a warrant of arrest was issued, was that despite several invitations, Tompolo failed to show up to answer to the allegations made against him.

“The order for substituted service is more than justified against a man who has refused to honour lawful invitation by the EFCC.

“Not only is Tompolo aware of the charges, he has further briefed counsel representing him, who on his behalf, demanded for all processes filed in the matter.

“Therefore, all the authorities cited on this issue are with respect, misconceived.

“The application challenging service is hereby dismissed.

“The order for arrest still subsist; and all authorities in Nigeria are further ordered to ensure that the order of this court for the arrest of Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo is carried out to the latter,” the court held.

Tompolo’s lawyer said that he would await further briefing from his client.

Meanwhile, counsel to the former Director General of NIMASA said that the EFCC was treating his clients and the other accused persons unfairly.

The court has adjourned till February 19 when all the accused persons are expected to be arraigned.

Scam: Court Orders Tompolo To Appear On Thursday

TompoloThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has summoned former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo to appear before it.

Justice Ibrahim Buba asked Tompolo to appear before him on Thursday, January 14, to answer to a 40-count charge of unlawful conversion brought against him by the EFCC.

He also granted leave to EFCC to serve Tompolo the summons and the charges through substituted means by “affixing same on the conspicuous part of his last known address situated at 1, Chief Agbanu DDPA Extension Warri, Delta State”.

The judge issued the summons following an application filed by the EFCC through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedipo, who alleged that they have not been able to serve Tompolo with a copy of the charge.

The commission also informed the court that Tompolo had so far, refused to honour several invitations extended to him for questioning.

Accused Persons

The anti-graft agency had in December 2015 filed a case against Tompolo, a former boss of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others for allegedly converting to personal use, the sums of $108.7 million and 2.1 billion Naira belonging to NIMASA.

Other accused persons were: Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electricals Limited, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by its prosecutor, Festus Keyamo.

In 16 of the counts, the agency alleged that Ekpemupolo, Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Boloboere Property Estate, Kime Engozu, and Simon John Adomene, who is currently at large, conspired among themselves between 2012 and 2014 to commit the offence, knowing that the two sums of money were proceeds of stealing.

In counts 17-38 of the criminal charges, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu, and Destre Consult Ltd were alleged to have converted the sum of 106.8 million Naira, the property of Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, despite knowing that the sum was derived from official corruption.

In counts 39 and 40, the EFCC alleged that Captain Warredi Enisuoh converted the sum of eight million Naira, property of Global West Vessel Specialist, knowing that the money was derived from official corruption.

According to the EFCC, the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused persons were contrary to and punishable under the Money Laundering Act of 2012.

Akpolobokemi is currently facing two different charges of stealing and conversion of money running into billions of Naira before the same court.

Akpobolokemi and nine others were first arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu on December 3, 2015 on a 30-count charge of conspiracy, criminal conversion and laundering the sum of 3.1 billion Naira.

The EFCC claimed that the accused persons allegedly conspired among themselves to convert and launder the sum under the guise of providing security intelligence around the maritime domain.

On December 4, 2015, the anti-graft agency also arraigned the form NIMASA DG and five others before Justice Buba on a 22-count charge of stealing the sum of 2.5 billion Naira.

Akpolobokemi and other accused persons have, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Court Clears Fani-Kayode Of Money Laundering Charges

Court Clears Fani-Kayode Of Money Laundering ChargesA Federal High Court in Lagos in south-west Nigeria has discharged and acquitted a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, of money laundering charges.

Delivering her judgement on Wednesday, the judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, said the prosecution’s case was “feeble” and failed to provide “copious evidence” linking Mr Fani-Kayode to money laundering.

After the judgement, Mr Fani-Kayode told reporters that the verdict was the “doing of the lord” and an end to a nightmare.

Want Of Proof

Mr Fani-Kayode, trial began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a case against him for allegedly laundering about 100 million Naira (about $500,000) while he was the Minister of Culture and Tourism and subsequently, Aviation.

The allegedly laundered sum was, however, reduced to 2.1 million Naira on November 17, 2014 after the court dismissed 38 of the 40-count charge levelled against Mr Fani-Kayode for want of proof.

The anti-graft agency’s prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, at that time urged the court to uphold the remaining two counts and to also convict Mr Fani-Kayode, as he could not exonerate himself of the allegations.

Mr Keyamo said: “The object of the charge is that Mr Fani-Kayode transacted in cash sums above 500,000 Naira, which was the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act”.

He had argued that Mr Fani-Kayode admitted making such transactions in his confessional statement made to the anti-graft agency on December 22, 2008.

‘Proven Beyond Doubts’

According to him, “transactions which are done without going through financial institutions, is what comes under the definition of money laundering” and these are the charges against the accused person.

“Once you cannot explain the source of the large sum of money found on you, you are guilty of money laundering. If the prosecution must show where the money is coming from, then the whole essence of the money laundering law is defeated.

“It is not in all cases that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution; the burden at this point shifts to the accused person,” Mr Keyamo further argued.

However, a counsel to Mr Fani-Kayode, Ifedayo Adedipe, in his summary argument, maintained that Mr Fani-Kayode made no confession to the EFCC, as claimed.

He argued that the anti-graft agency failed to show that Mr Fani-Kayode accepted a cash sum of one million Naira as alleged, claiming that the EFCC also failed to show to the court the person who handed the cash sum to the accused person.

Mr Adedipe further stated that for the case of the prosecution to succeed, it had to be proven beyond reasonable doubts.

Corruption Charges: ‘Nightmare Has Finally Ended’ – Fani-Kayode

fani kayodeA former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, says the dismissal of a case filed against him on money laundering charges was the “doing of the lord” and an end to a nightmare.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday morning dismissed the case against Mr Fani-Kayode, saying the prosecution’s case was “feeble” and failed to provide “copious evidence” linking Mr Fani-Kayode to money laundering.

In a statement issued after the judgement was delivered, the former Aviation Minister said that he had, in the last seven years, been subjected to the “most malicious, vicious, sinister, well-orchestrated, insidious and devastating form of political persecution and wickedness”.

“The whole process almost destroyed my life, my family, my reputation, my health and my career.

“I thank God for His goodness, His mercy and for the fact that today, the whole nightmare has finally come to an end,” he said.

“Marvellous In Our Sight”

Recounting the entire processes, he said: “Initially, I was accused of stealing 19.5 billion Naira of the public funds when I was Minister of Aviation. It was thrown out by the courts. Then I was accused of stealing 6.5 billion Naira. It was thrown out by the courts. Then I was accused of laundering 200 million Naira, it was thrown out by the courts.

“Then I was accused of laundering 99 million Naira. It was thrown out by the courts. Finally, I was accused of laundering one million Naira and 1.1 million Naira respectively and today, both of these charges have also been thrown out by the courts”.

Mr Fani-Kayode further said that the verdict “is the doing of the lord and it is marvellous in our sight”, stressing that it was a prove of God’s faithfulness and honour for His word.

FG Challenges Order Barring Arrest Of Buruji Kashamu

KashamuThe Federal Government has instituted two appeals before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal against the orders of the Federal High Court barring security agencies in the country from arresting and commencing extradition proceedings against Senator Buruji Kashamu.

Two judges of the Federal High Court, Justice Okon Abang and Justice Ibrahim Buba had in separate rulings nullified the provisional warrant of arrest obtained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against the Senator representing Ogun-East.

The judges had also restrained the NDLEA from arresting and arraigning Kashamu in furtherance of moves to extradite him to the United States of America to face drug related offences.

In one of the appeals, the Federal Government argued that the court cannot fetter the hands of security or prosecuting agencies in the lawful discharge of their functions.

In the second appeal, the government submitted that from a careful scrutiny of the case, it was clear that the lower courts aided Kashamu to abuse the processes of the court.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF in the appeal, also insisted that the English Courts, have not exonerated Senator Kashamu on drug related charges but only ruled on his extradition proceedings.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Emeka Ngige, who represented the Federal Government in the matter has therefore asked the Federal High Court to stay further proceedings in the matter pending the hearing and determination of the appeals.

Counsel to Senator Buruji Kashamu, Ajibola Oluyede, has however described the application as an ambush on the contempt proceedings against the AGF and the NDLEA

In a brief ruling, Justice Buba adjourned further hearing of the matter till June 23 to enable the lawyers produce before him copies of the appeal and all other documents in the matter.

NDLEA Operatives Vacate The Residence Of Buruji Kashamu

KashamuSix whole days of house arrest, that’s what the NDLEA enforced but now they have withdrawn from the residence of Ogun State Senator-elect, Buruji Kashamu.

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had laid siege, claiming that Mr Kashamu was wanted in the United States on alleged drug offences.

The agency insists it has an extradition request from the US but this was not tendered in court as the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday declared as illegal, the arrest and planned extradition of the Senator-elect in relation to the allegations from which he had been exonerated by two British Courts.

The NDLEA, at the time, denied receiving any court order, insisting that it would continue to maintain presence. This led to Mr Kashamu’s lawyer accusing the agency of flouting the court order.

Kashamu’s lawyer, in a Thursday morning interview on Channels Television, said that the agency’s operatives were still at Mr Kashamu’s residence in defiance of the court order.

According to him, there were “close to 12 to 15 armed men” in Mr Kashamu’s residence and he has been locked up in his bathroom since Saturday, a situation that meant he had to speak with his client through the door.

He also revealed that Kashamu had been complaining of health challenges due to this situation he had been.

 

Court Bars NDLEA, Others From Arresting Kashamu

KashamuA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on Wednesday restrained security agencies from unlawfully arresting and extraditing Mr Buruji Kashamu to the United States, to stand trial on drug-trafficking offences.

Justice Okon Abang, who presided over the case, declared as illegal, the arrest and planned extradition of the Senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial District, in relation to drug-trafficking allegations from which he had been exonerated by two British Courts.

Justice Abang granted Mr Kashamu’s request that having earlier obtained a judgment in Nigeria in January 2014, barring his arrest and extradition and the judgment having not been set aside, he could not be arrested and extradited.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had on Tuesday, ordered the NDLEA operatives to immediately vacate Mr Kashamu’s Lagos residence.

The NDLEA denied receiving any court order, insisting that it would continue to maintain presence.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke on Saturday, said that the arrest of the Senator-elect was not an extra-judicial action, explaining that a formal request had been made by the American Government, seeking his extradition and that same had been passed to the appropriate legal body.

Justice Abang then awarded a penalty of 20,000 Naira against the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), National Security Adviser to the President, and the Nigeria Security And Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).