The Federal High Court has fixed October 14, for the re-arraignment of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, over alleged fraud to the tune of ₦400 million.
The date was fixed following the absence of the new trial judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in court on Tuesday.
Consequently, Metuh’s re-trial could not proceed, despite his presence and that of all the parties involved, in court.
The court of Appeal, Abuja, had on December 16, 2020, nullified a Federal High Court judgement that convicted and sentenced Metuh to seven years imprisonment for money laundering.
The appellate court held that the judgement of the trial judge, Okon Abang, was tainted with bias, and subsequently sent the case file back to the Federal High Court for retrial by another judge.
Metuh would be re-tried over allegations of receiving the sum of 400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), prior to the 2015 presidential election, without contract approval or execution.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has again rejected an appeal to stop the local government elections scheduled to hold Saturday in the state.
The Alliance of Social Democrats and 10 other political parties had filed the suit against the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) and Lagos State Government seeking to stop the holding of the Chairmen and Councillors election into the 57 Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas.
The parties claimed that the Court of Appeal reversed INEC’s decision to deregister them but despite this, LASIEC did not list their parties on the ballot.
They, therefore, invited the court to stop Saturday’s LG elections.
The Attorney General & Commissioner of Justice in Lagos, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Moyosore Onigbanjo, however, countered this submission.
Onigbanjo told the judge that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain their claims.
In a ruling delivered Friday, Justice Akintoye Aluko upheld the submissions of the Attorney General on behalf of the Lagos State Government and declined jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
The court also transferred the suit to the State High Court pursuant to Section 22 (2) Federal High Court Act.
In a related development, the court also upheld the same decision in another matter filed by the Youth Party against LASIEC.
The court not only declined jurisdiction on the matter but also vacated the Interim Order of Injunction earlier granted in the matter on July 12.
With these developments, the elections in to the 57 Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas in the state will now hold as scheduled on Saturday, July 24.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced 10 pirates to twelve years imprisonment each for hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, in May 2020.
Justice Ayokunle Faji who said their actions affect the well-being of all Nigerians also ordered each pirate to pay a fine of N1million each.
Delivering his judgment on Friday, Justice Faji said the Federal Government proved beyond reasonable doubt that the pirates did hijack the vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.
The judge held: “I agree with the prosecution counsel, Labaran Magaji that the prosecution has proved the essential ingredients of the offence committed by each of the defendants; the defendants conspired to commit the illegal act.
“All the defendants acted in hijacking the ship to achieve their common goal.
“Consequently I find each of the defendants guilty as charged on all the counts.
“Each defendant is hereby sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
“In addition, the defendants should pay a fine of N1million each.
“The offence committed by the defendants affects the wellbeing of Nigerians and our image in the diaspora.
“The naira sum, dollars, and various currencies recovered from the defendants by the Nigerian Navy are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The judge convicted each of the defendants on all 4 counts made against them.
The convicts said to be residents in Nigeria, are Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.
They were arraigned by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on July 13, 2020, on a four-count charge bordering on the hijacking of the vessel in international waters off the coast of Cote D’Ivoire.
They pleaded not guilty and were remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Navy, following which trial commenced.
In the course of the trial, the government told the court that the defendants “while armed with weapons, committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board FV Hai Lu Feng II belonging to Haina Fishing Company by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.”
The government also said their action violated Section 3 of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, punishable under Section 2 of the same Act, and urged the court to use the case to send a strong message to pirates that Nigeria would not condone such criminal activities which had huge implications for the country.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun did not require National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate for appointment into political office in the country.
The court also ruled that she was ineligible to participate in the scheme.
Adeosun resigned in 2018 after she was accused of forging an NYSC certificate.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo in a judgement on Wednesday ruled that she was ineligible to participate in the scheme when she graduated at 22 because she was then a British citizen.
According to the ruling, she was not supposed to present herself for the service, as at the time of graduation, because under the 1979 constitution which was in force as at that time, she was not a Nigerian citizen, either at her graduation or when she turned 30.
The court further held that the constitution does not require her to present her first-degree certificate, or any other one, including the NYSC certificate, to be appointed a minister.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo added that the ministerial appointment of Adeosun, was not unconstitutional and illegal, even without presenting an NYSC certificate.
The judge proceeded to grant the four reliefs sought by the plaintiff, to include “a declaration that the plaintiff, being a United Kingdom citizen as at 1989 when she graduated from the University of East London, London, the United Kingdom at 22, she was ineligible to participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N8, LFN, 2004.”
The judgment was on a suit marked: FhC/ABJ/CS/303/2021 filed by Adeosun, with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as the sole defendant.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to fix the salaries and allowances of the 469 members of the National Assembly, to reflect the economic realities in the country.
The court on Friday also ruled that the National Assembly Service Commission has no power to determine the remuneration and allowances of lawmakers.
Justice Chuka Obiozor delivered the judgment via zoom today in the consolidated suits brought by two legal Practitioners, Mr. Monday Ubani and Mr. John Nwokwu, and more than 1,500 concerned Nigerians through the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE).
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana led the team of human rights lawyers who secured victory in what is being described as a landmark judgment.
The suit was filed on the heels of reports that members of the National Assembly receive running costs and allowances not determined by RMAFC and that such allowances are illegal because they are far above what the RMAFC prescribed.
In 2018, one of the senators, Senator Shehu Sani had disclosed in an interview that “each senator receives N13.5 million monthly as running cost in addition to over N750,000.00 monthly consolidated salary and allowances”.
Another online publication further revealed that each senator is entitled to the sum of N200m as a constituency project allowance.
The National Assembly filed a Defence denying ever collecting such an amount but failed to disclose to the court how much they collect.
The NASS Commission in their defense also denied paying such an amount to the members. They also challenged the locus standi of the plaintiffs to institute the action against them.
But Justice Obiozor overruled these objections and held that in line with the constitution, the RMAFC should do a downward review of the salaries, remuneration, or allowances of the lawmakers to reflect the economic realities in the country.
The court also recommended that since the lawmakers have denied receiving jumbo pays, the EFCC should look at their books and prosecute them if it is found that they under collect such an amount of money.
The National Assembly comprises 469 members – with 109 in the Senate and 360 in the House of Representatives. These public officers form a very tiny percentage of about 200 million Nigerians.
The Federal High Court has amended its initial list on the posting of Judges across the country.
This change comes as a result of the recent elevation of some judges of the court.
In a circular dated the 5th of May 2021, the Chief Judge of the Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho stated that with the recent elevation to the court of appeal of certain justices, it had become inevitable to amend the posting of judges.
Justices Bature Gafai, Mohammed Abubakar, and Hassan are among those taking up positions in the court of Appeal, while Justice Mohammed Yunusa who was suspended for the alleged perversion of the course of justice and corruption charges has been recalled.
The judges posted to replace those elevated shall however await the swearing-in and eventual deployment of their elevated colleagues before reporting in the new stations.
Here’s the list of the new postings of all 75 justices of the court
The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has struck out the charge against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and two others on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650m.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the charge for being incompetent.
The former minister was standing trial alongside a former Senator who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, Senator Ayo Adeseun and a PDP Chieftain, Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti.
They were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
The money was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge after which trial commenced in the matter.
The defendants chalk Ed the trial and asked that the case be struck out. They also insisted that they could only be tried in the division where the offences allegedly took place.
In his ruling on the application, Justice Aneke held that pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has the overriding powers to transfer any matter from one judge to another, within the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge also held that the charge was vague and defective as it did not specifically mention where the offences were allegedly committed.
The defendants were first arraigned on Jan. 16, 2018, before Muslim Hassan on a 24-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty.
They were granted bail and trial began before Justice Hassan with witnesses testifying, but midway into the case, the defendants alleged bias against the judge and the case was then transferred to Justice Aneke.
One of the counts reads, “That you, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of an N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”
Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Kano on March 2, 2021, convicted one Maryam Abu Shinga on a one-count amended charge of retention of proceeds of crime. She was also ordered to pay the sum of N110, 000,000 in restitution to victims.
The convict was said to have lured her victims into a phony gold mining investment where she represented that the investor stands to earn 300% profit. She claimed that when an investor invests N500, 000, such investor could earn N1, 500,000 (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira Only) as returns on investment over a period of 4 weeks.
The investigation, however, revealed that the convict was never into gold mining or any such investment. It was also discovered that even though Shinga was able to pay some early investors with funds taken from later investors, she allegedly diverted N394,541,910 (Three Hundred and Ninety-four Million, Five Hundred and Forty-one Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ten Naira) belonging to several other investors.
Upon arraignment, Shinga pleaded ‘not guilty’ thereby setting the stage for trial. During the trial which commenced on January 23, 2020, the prosecution called five witnesses and tendered several documents in evidence. However, before the prosecution could close its case, the convict opted for a plea bargain.
In his judgment on Tuesday, March 2, Justice Allagoa accepted the terms of a plea bargain agreement, convicted, and sentenced the defendant to restitute the complainants in the sum of N110, 000,000.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has upheld an interim order granted to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) for the seizure of properties belonging to businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, for an alleged N69.4billion debt.
In a ruling which lasted nearly two hours on Tuesday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, upheld the argument of AMCON’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) that AMCON made “full and substantial disclosure of all material facts” at the time of obtaining the orders on November 4, 2020.
The judge ruled that the order subsists.
The businessman, Mr Ibrahim, who is also a legal practitioner was in court and fully robed for the proceedings.
Alongside NICON Investment Ltd and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Ltd, Mr Ibrahim had asked the court to set aside the order for “non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts”.
He also asked the court to order AMCON to pay N50billion indemnity for alleged failure to conduct due diligence before obtaining the said order and for misrepresentation and concealment of fact.
But Justice Aikawa ruled against him.
On November 4, the court had granted the interim order and on November 18, AMCON announced that it had effectively taken over 12 properties belonging to the businessman and his firms.
The properties include the NICON Investment Ltd building, Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Ltd building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja and the building of NICON Lekki Ltd also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.
The Federal High Court in Kano State has discharged and acquitted a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, who was accused of receiving N950 million as campaign fund from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 presidential election.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Mr Wali and Mansur Ahmed on three counts of the allegation, saying the act contravened Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Delivering the judgment on Friday, the trial judge Lewis Allagoa, said the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Thereafter, he discharged and acquitted the defendants.
The trial in absentia of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mister Nnamdi Kanu at the Federal High Court has been stalled due to the late service of hearing notice.
Lawyer to the Federal Government, Nnaemeka Ejiofor informed the court that the defense counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor who was supposed to appear for the IPOB leader only received the hearing notice of the trial on November 24, thereby making it impossible for him to meet up with the trial.
The trial of four others who are also standing trial alongside Nnamdi Kanu was also stalled following the late service of hearing notices on the defendants who were absent in court.
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday directed a member of the House of Representatives representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, Sani Umar Dangaladima, to return to court on December 4 to answer questions over his decision to stand as a surety for Faisal Maina.
Justice Okon Abang gave the lawmaker up till December 4, 2020, to produce Faisal, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, who is believed to have jumped bail in his ongoing money laundering trial.
In honour of the summons issued on Tuesday, the surety appeared before the court with his lawyer, Mohammed Sheriff, on Wednesday.
The lawyer told the court that his client drove from Zamfara State upon hearing the news of his summons on Tuesday, without waiting to be formally served with the court order.
He pleaded with the judge to grant a short adjournment to enable him to file his client’s defence.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
Justice Abang had on Tuesday summoned Dangaladima to appear in court to show cause why he should not be imprisoned if he failed to either produce Faisal or pay the N60million bail bond to the Federal Government.
Faisal is being prosecuted before the court on money laundering related offences. He was granted bail in December 2019, with Dan Galadima standing surety for him upon signing a N60million bond.
Ruling, the judge said the lawmaker showed “tremendous respect” for the court by coming to court before he was served the summons.
He adjourned till December 4 for Faisal to open his defence and for the legislator to show cause why he should not be made to forfeit the N60m bail bond or be remanded in prison instead until he is able to produce the defendant.
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on the absence of Faisal Maina ordered Dan Galadima, who was present in court, to show cause by December 4 why he should either not forfeit the N60m he pledged while taking Faisal on bail or be sent to prison until he is able to produce the defendant.