Court Acquits Ex-Foreign Affairs Minister Of Receiving N950m

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

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.

Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Stalled Due To Late Service Of Hearing Notice

Court Revokes Nnamdi Kanu’s Bail, Orders His Re-Arrest

 

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.

READ ALSO: Alleged Money Laundering: Court Fixes Friday For Ruling On Ndume’s Bail Application

A hearing notice from the court scheduled the case for November 26 during which five prosecution witnesses were listed to testify against Mister Kanu.

Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the two cases to January 27, 2021, for hearing, and warned that the court would not entertain flimsy excuses on the next adjourned date.

Kanu is standing trial for charges bordering on alleged treasonable felony filed against him in response to years of the campaign for the Independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.

Court Asks Rep Member Who Stood As Surety For Faisal Maina To Re-Appear

A file photo of Faisal Maina.

 

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.

READ ALSO: Lawyer Dumps Abdulrasheed Maina, Applies To Quit Case

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.

Federal High Court Gets New Practice Directions On Pre-Election Matters

A file photo of a signboard of the Federal High Court in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

 

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho has issued new Practice Directions on pre-election matters for all 36 divisions of the court across the country.

The court’s acting Information Officer, Oby Nwandu, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

She explained that the practice directions were made in the exercise of the power conferred on the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court by Section 254 of the Constitution.

The practice directions, according to her, mandate all trial courts in every pre-election matter to deliver judgment within 180 days from the date of filing the suit.

Nwandu stated that the practice directions which were made on Friday last week already took effect from the same day.

A file photo of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho.

 

Read the full statement below:

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, The Honourable Justice John Terhemba Tsoho has issued new Practice Directions, entitled:

FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA, PRACTICE DIRECTIONS (NO. 2) 2020.

Its objective, as stated in the preamble is that, it is issued:

In the exercise of the power conferred on the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria by Section 254 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) and pursuant to the provision of Section 2(10) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No.21) Act 2017, which amends the provision of Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) mandating all trial courts in every pre-election matter to deliver judgment within 180 days from the date of filing the suit.

The salient provisions contained therein are as follows:

That These Practice Direction shall, save to the extent and as may otherwise be ordered by the Honourable Chief Judge, apply to all pre-election matters filed before the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

Nothing in the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 shall prevent a Judge of the Court from hearing a pre-election matter already pending before the Court, during the vacation period until judgement is delivered.

(i) No petition shall be entertained against a Judge of the Court hearing a pre-election matter, save from a party on record in such matter.

(ii) Where a party on record petitions as in (i) above, such petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit verifying the contents of the petition.

(iii) the party shall cause same to be served on the Judge and all parties on record, notwithstanding that the petition is addressed to the Honourable,  the Chief Judge of the Court.

(iv) Where the petition is addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Judge, the proof of service of the advanced copies on all parties on record and the Judge concerned shall accompany the petition.”

The Practice Directions, made at Abuja and dated on Friday, the 24th day of July, 2020 also took effect from that same date.

Signed.

Acting Information Officer,

Oby Catherine Nwandu

For: The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

Federal High Court Releases Guidelines For Virtual Proceedings

File photo of Virtual Court Proceeding in Lagos with Attorney General Of Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo and the Prosecutor, Titi Shittu-Bey watching from different locations.

 

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has released guidelines and practice directions authorising judges to adopt virtual proceedings for court cases in all its judicial divisions.

The Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho, issued the practice directions for cases to be heard virtually on Zoom, Skype or any other audio-visual means approved by the court.

The guidelines take effect from Monday, May 18.

The virtual proceeding, however, can only be held with the consent of the parties and their counsels.

READ ALSO: Consideration Of Infectious Diseases Bill Not Suspended By Court – Reps

Under the new rules, judges of the court cannot hear more than nine cases in a day. Judge and counsel involved are also expected to wear their robes for such proceedings.

The practice directions add that cases for virtual proceedings shall be stated on the Cause List, posted on the court’s website and communicated to counsel and parties, either by e-mail or any other electronic means.

It also allows for Service of court processes to be effected by e-mails, WhatsApp or as may be directed by the court, and the print out of same shall be sufficient proof of service.

In keeping with Federal and States COVID-19 regulations, the Chief Judge also made the wearing of face masks and maintaining of social distancing mandatory.
Every person within the premises of the court and inside the courtroom is to observe social and physical distancing of not less than two meters (6 feet) apart from each other.

The practice directions also stipulate that at any given time, there shall not be a congregation of more than 10 persons within the court premises, except for purposes of court sittings where there shall not be more than 20 persons inside the courtroom including the court staff and counsel at court sittings.

AMCON Seizes N8.4bn Properties In Lagos

 

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has seized several multi-billion Naira properties across Lagos.

AMCON enforcement units and sheriffs of the Federal High Court protected by policemen sealed up the properties in the execution of a 2019 order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to AMCON’s receiver manager’s counsel, Gbenga Dosunmu, the debtors had refused to liquidate their debts despite all efforts and consultations to get them to do so.

As to the fate of tenants of the properties and others who may have bought from the debtors, the lawyer said “it is unfortunate, but the law must take its course,” advising them to approach AMCON and seek to ratify their title.

READ ALSO: Alleged Fraud: Ex-Banker Testifies In Fayose’s Trial

The properties belong to about 12 debtors who are said to owe the Federal Government N8.4billion.

The seizure lasted hours and took place simultaneously in Lekki, Apapa, Ikeja, Somolu and Kosofe areas of Lagos.

The affected properties include Elegant Court on Mobil Road Lekki. It houses 12 three-storey blocks of 72 luxury apartments, a tennis court and other facilities situated on 1.802 hectares of land.

A three-storey shopping complex on Mobil Road, Lekki, housing three different churches were also sealed.

By the court’s judgment, AMCON is also mandated to recover land measuring 1668.740 square metres along Kirikiri Road, Olodi Apapa, land measuring 4939.122 square metres on 98 Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Ikeja, and land at No. 21, Adaranijo Street, Bariga, Somolu.

Others are a property at No. 1 Cortex Drive, off Kosofe Street, Ketu; a property at 2, Hilton Close, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja and another at 24, Medoyin Street, Kosofe, Ketu (Cortex House).

Last August, the Federal Government inaugurated an inter-agency committee to recover the N5 trillion debts owed AMCON.

See photos of the exercise below:

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Mompha On Amended Charges

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has introduced new counts into the charge against internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.

He was re-arraigned today at the Federal High Court Lagos, on amended 22 counts which now includes offenses of making false statements to officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and engaging in foreign exchange transactions other than through the foreign exchange market.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

After his plea, his counsel, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) asked the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to study the new charge.

READ ALSO: Kano Assembly Receives Petition To Investigate Emir Sanusi

He told the court that he had only seen the new charge a few minutes before the court commenced sitting and consequently, urged the court to allow him to study same.

Following the agreement of parties, the court adjourned the case until March 18 for the continuation of trial.

Background:

Mompha was first arraigned by the commission on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He was arraigned alongside his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

He had pleaded not guilty to the counts and was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.

The trial has since commenced in the suit, with the witnesses of the EFCC testifying.

So far in the trial, the commission had called witnesses from commercial banks, CBN as well as the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML).

In the charge, EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9billion between 2015 and 2018.

The prosecution alleged that Mompha laundered the sum through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

Both defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums like N9.4million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4million, N100million, N61million, N40.7million, N42million among others.

Mompha was alleged to have aided Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N 14 billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.

The offences are said to contravene the provisions of sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended.

Internet Fraud: Court Sentences Mother, Son To Three Years In Prison

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced a mother, Mrs Damilola Adeyeri and her son, Alaba Adeyeri, to three years in prison for defrauding an American to the tune of $82,570.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke convicted the mother and son of four counts bordering on “fraudulent trick business email compromise” filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the hearing on Tuesday, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari, told the court that the mother and son conspired with one Kareem Russel, who is still at large, to defraud the Chief Executive Officer of American Cranes Manufacturing Company.

According to the EFCC counsel, they committed the offence in June 2017 and were arrested on September 6, 2019.

In the charge, the anti-graft agency explained that Mrs Adeyeri and her son carried out the fraud by “dishonestly representing themselves as the CEO of American Cranes Manufacturing Company and thereafter, sent an email from [email protected] with intent to gain advantage to themselves.”

The EFCC through its counsel also told the court that the convicts acted contrary to sections 27(1)(a) and 23(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and were liable to be punished under Section 22(1) of the same Act.

The offence was also said to have been contrary to sections 421 and 422 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38.

Meanwhile, both Mrs Adeyeri and her son pleaded guilty to the four counts during the arraignment.

Consequently, Justice Aneke said he would temper justice with mercy because the convicts pleaded guilty to the charges immediately, rather than waste the time of the court.

He then sentenced them to three years’ imprisonment on each of the three counts but said the sentences would run concurrently.

The judge said despite the fact that the convicts immediately pleaded guilty and showed remorse, he had to mete out punishment in accordance with the relevant laws to serve as a deterrent to others.

After sentencing the convicts, the prosecutor urged the court to forfeit to the Federal government of Nigeria, the sum of N38.8 million, used to buy a property with Adron Homes and Properties, as well as the sum of N21.6 million in the account of Crystal High Homes, domiciled in Polaris bank, N10 million belonging to Alaba Karrem Adeyemi, domiciled in Polaris Bank, $24, 585 USD and another N421, 329, 00 belonging to Mrs Adeyeri and domiciled in Polaris Bank and an IPhone.

The prosecutor’s request was granted as Justice Aneke ordered the forfeiture of the funds and iPhone to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Rivers Wins Oil Wells From Bayelsa As Court Orders Map Error Correction

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the transfer of Soku oil field from Bayelsa State to its rightful owner, Rivers State.

Delivering judgment in a suit instituted by Rivers State, Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered the National Boundary Commission to rectify the error in its 11th Edition of Administrative Map which designated San Bartholomew River as the boundary between the two states, instead of River Santa Barbara.

The error was said to have surfaced in the 11th Edition of Administrative Map produced by the NBC in 2002.

READ ALSO: Falana Writes AGF, Requests Sowore’s Release

The NBC was said to have in its letter dated July 3, 2002 in response to Rivers State government’s protest admitted its mistake and promised to rectify it in the 12th edition of the administrative map.

Failure of the NBC to rectify the mistake as promised made the Rivers State government to file a suit against the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the Supreme Court in 2009.

The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled in favour of Rivers State and ordered the rectification of the error.

By August 2019, when the mistake had yet to be corrected, Rivers State Government instituted a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja solely against the NBC seeking an order of mandamus compelling it to correct its error.

Granting the plaintiff’s prayers in his judgment, Justice Ekwo ordered the commission to immediately produce the 12th edition of the Administrative Map restoring River Santa Barbara as the inter-state boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states, as it was in 1996 when Bayelsa State was carved from Rivers State.

He added that the commission was duty-bound to obey the July 10, 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court which had affirmed River Santa Barbara as the boundary between the states, by immediately correcting its self-admitted error of designating River San Bartholomew as the boundary.

 

He also ordered that the judgment be served on the relevant statutory bodies, especially, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for them to immediate recompute the amount of oil revenue accruable to it with the transfer of the Soku oil field to rivers state.

Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Magu’s Removal As Acting EFCC Boss

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed some suits seeking the removal of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The plaintiffs had sought Magu’s removal on the grounds that the Senate had twice rejected his appointment and refused to screen him to take up the position in a substantive capacity.

They argued that Mr. Magu, who has been acting as the EFCC chairman since 2015, after being rejected by the senate, was not fit to continue to serve in that capacity.

READ ALSO: Alleged N135bn Fraud: FG Files Charges Against Ifeanyi Ubah, Capital Oil & Gas Limited

Delivering judgment, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that there was a lacuna in the law by not providing for the timeframe within which a person could act as EFCC’s chairman.

She noted that although the lacuna ought not to be exploited to “install” Magu in office in substantive capacity without the Senate confirmation, it had given the President as the appointor “the proverbial yam and the knife to do as he pleases” with the appointment of the EFCC chairman.

As a result of that, the suits are of no moment and are hereby dismissed.

State Pension Laws: Court Orders FG To Recover Money Collected By Former Governors

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today

 

Former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly may have to refund money they have collected as Pensions since leaving office as state chief executives.

This is because a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Federal Government to recover the funds and also directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other public officials to collect such pensions.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) disclosed this in a statement signed on Wednesday by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare.

The rights group also disclosed this in series of tweets on their official Twitter handle.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo delivered the judgement following an application for an order of mandamus brought by the SERAP.

Justice Oguntoyinbo had disagreed with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice who had maintained that the states’ laws duly passed cannot be challenged.

She insisted that the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians

In the words of Justice Oguntoyinbo, “the attorney general is hereby directed to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to identify those involved and seek full recovery of public funds from the former governors.”

The judgement comes against the backdrop of the recent decision of the Zamfara State House of Assembly abolishing the pension for former governors and other public officers in the state.

The enactment of the pension laws had attracted condemnation from Nigerians who have described it the trend as outrageous and morally indefensible by the former government officials.

Operation Positive Identification: Court Fixes Date For Hearing Of Preliminary Objection

 

Justice Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed a date for the hearing of the preliminary objection filed by the Nigerian Army against the suit filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana to challenge the Operation Positive Identification (OPI).

The judge had on earlier November 5, ordered the Army to suspend the operation pending the final determination of the suit.

READ ALSO: Operation Positive Identification: Falana Sues Nigerian Army, Buratai And Malami

An earlier hearing date for yesterday, but the courts new date was fixed as a result of  Mr Falana’s application seeking for short adjournment for him to respond to the respondents’ application.

Counsel representing the Army and the chief of Army Staff (1st and 2nd respondents), Mrs. Olayemi Badewole, didn’t oppose the applicant’s application for short adjournment.

The solicitor general of the Federation, Dayo Apata (SAN), who represented the Attorney General of the Federation (third respondent) did not also oppose it.

In the absence of any opposition from other parties, the court fixed the new date, December 12, for hearing.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Army and the Attorney-General of the Federation were joined as co-respondents in the suit marked fhc/l/cs/1939/2019.

In the suit, Mr Falana argues that the planned nationwide operation which was scheduled to run from November 1 to December 23, 2019, by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification, is unconstitutional, illegal, and null and void.

He insisted that the operation violates his right and that of other Nigerian citizens to liberty, “as encapsulated in section 35 respectively of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 6 of the African charter on human and Peoples rights (ratification and enforcement) act, (Cap a10) laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

In an affidavit in support of the suit, Falana disclosed that by virtue of section 215 (3) of the constitution, the Nigeria Police Force “has the exclusive power to maintain law and order and secure public safety and public order in the country” and not the army.

He further contended that the President could only deploy military to suppress insurrection or restore law and order when such need arises in line with section 217(1) of the constitution.

The silk averred that there is no insurrection in every part of the country which is beyond the control of police to warrant the deployment of armed troops all over the country from November 1, 2019 to December 23, 2019.

According to him, the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai is not empowered to take over police duties while the President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces also lacks the power to deploy members of the armed forces in the maintenance of internal security in any part of the country by virtue of section 217 (a) (b) and (c) of the constitution.

He added that neither the constitution nor the armed forces act cap a20 lfn, 2004, empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.