Justice Ngwuta’s Trial: Federal Government Appoints New Prosecutor

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta's Trial StalledThe Nigerian government has appointed Mrs Olufemi Fatunde of the Federal Ministry of Justice, as the Lead Prosecutor in the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, a Supreme Court Justices who is standing trial for alleged corruption.

At the resumed hearing of the case in Abuja, Mrs Fatunde announced appearance as the new Head of the‎ Prosecution team following the withdrawal of the former Head of the Prosecution Team, Charles Adeogun-Philips.

Shortly after announcing her appearance, Mrs Fatunde made an oral application seeking an adjournment of the case to enable her study the file and also interview the witnesses.

Lawyer to Justice Ngwuta, Mr Kanu Agabi, however did not oppose the application and Justice John Tsoho subsequently adjourned the case to March 16 and 17, 2017, for continuation of trial.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the justices arrested and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS), on October 8, 2016 for corruption and breach of professional ethics.

In November, he had entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges leveled against him by the Federal Government.

Ministers Visit Late James Ocholi’s Residence

OcholiMinisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the family of their late colleague, Mr James Ocholi, at his Abuja residence, after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The delegation, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, assured the children that the Presidency would support the family of the late Mr Ocholi.

Also at the residence to sympathise with the family was a notable politician in Kogi State, James Faleke, who said that the late minister’s death was a great loss to Nigeria, especially to Kogi State.

Friends of the deceased described him as an upright and brave man who made a great impact within a short period of time.

The visit came after the Federal Government announced automatic employment at the Federal Ministry of Justice for Aaron, the eldest son of the late Minister.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, revealed this to the Ocholi family when he paid them a visit to convey his and President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence message.

He also told the family that Aaron’s other siblings would enjoy scholarships for their educational pursuits, courtesy of the Federal Government which had pledged to cushion the effect of the loss of their parents.

FG Employs Ocholi’s Son, Gives Others Scholarship

OcholiAs part of efforts to support the children left behind by the late Minister of State for Labour, Mr James Ocholi (SAN), the Federal Government has announced automatic employment at the Federal Ministry of Justice for Aaron, his eldest son.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, revealed this to the Ocholi family when he paid a visit to his Kado Estate residence at about 3:00pm on Tuesday, to convey his and President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence message.

He also disclosed that Aaron’s other siblings would enjoy scholarships for their educational pursuits, courtesy of the Federal Government who has pledged to cushion the effect of the loss of their parents.

The Minister added that the Senior Advocate was a very critical part of the change effort of the Federal Government.

He said that President Buhari personally mandated him to inform the family of the late Minister that his administration would do all within its power to ensure he is not missed.

Mr Malami consoled them that death was a necessary end that was bound to happen, adding that God in his infinite mercy had a reason for allowing them to depart the way they did.

“I am here to convey Mr President’s condolence message and he has asked me to personally inform you that you have been given automatic employment in the Federal Ministry of Justice. The employment letter is in process and you can resume work after now”, he told Ocholi’s eldest son.

“Your father was a very hardworking and conscientious member of the Federal Executive Council who was very passionate and worked hard for the realisation of the change agenda of this government.

“Indeed, it is a sad moment for all of us and the vacuum which his death has created is not only for the family, but the leadership as well. He was a great pillar in the struggle which brought this administration to power. He played a major role in the merger process,” the AGF said.

Mr Malami also recalled that as far back as the days of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Ocholi was one of those who stood strong behind President Buhari and was one of those who took part in the judicial struggle afterward in an effort to claim the presidential mandate at the election tribunal up to the Supreme Court at that time.

He prayed that his departed soul rests in peace.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment died in a road accident along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday, March 6, along with his wife and son.

The deceased and his family were returning from a private visit in Kaduna.

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Tribunal Orders Saraki’s Arrest

SarakiThe Code of Conduct Tribunal has ordered the arrest of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki for failing to appear before the Tribunal to answer charges of alleged false declaration while he served as Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2007.

Delivering a ruling on the suit filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, to produce the Senate President on Monday, September 21, which is the next adjourned date.

The Tribunal held that no court of coordinate jurisdiction can restrain the Tribunal from performing its constitutional duties.

The Tribunal further held that the Senate President Saraki was duly served with the hearing notice and cannot claim ignorance of the suit before the tribunal.

Lawyer to the Senate President, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN had challenged the hearing of the suit, saying the prosecutor, Mr Mohammed Hassan lacks the locus standi to institute d action in d absence of an Attorney-General of the Federation.

Mr Hassan, who is a counsel in the office of the A.G.F. however disagreed, saying any officer in the office of the AGF can institute a criminal proceeding in the absence of an AGF.

Saraki’s False Asset Declaration Suit Commences

SarakiThe Senate President’s trial for alleged false declaration of his assets when he was Governor of Kwara State has begun at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

The Deputy Director in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, M.S.Hassan, filed the charges against Dr. Bukola Saraki on September 11.

The Senate President is facing 13 counts at the CCT.

Lawyer to the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN is challenging the hearing of the suit at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, saying the prosecutor, Mr Mohammed Hassan lacks the locus standi to institute d action in d absence of an Attorney-General of the Federation.

Mr Hassan, a counsel in the office of the A.G.F. disagrees, saying any officer in the office of the AGF can institute a criminal proceeding in the absence of an AGF.

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Court Halts Saraki’s Trial

Bukola-Saraki-Nigeria-Senate-PresidentA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has summoned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to appear before it on September 21, 2015 to show cause why it should not be restrained from arraigning Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over allegations bordering on false and improper declaration of assets allegedly acquired during his tenure as Governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011.

The Senate President, who approached the court via an ex parte motion wants the Federal Ministry of Justice, Code of Conduct Bureau, Code of Conduct Tribunal and Barrister M. S Hassan stopped from taking any further step to arraign or prefer any charge against him, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit he filed before the court.

Senator Saraki is also praying the court to declare that the Ministry of Justice has not complied with the provision of the 3rd Schedule of Section 24(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to act before proffering a charge against him.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling in his chambers ordered the Federal Ministry of Justice, Chairmen of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal and M. S Hassan (1st to 4th respondent) to appear before him to show cause why they should not be stopped from arraigning Saraki.

Senator Saraki in his motion argued that since there is no subsisting AGF, the charge against him by the official of the Federal Ministry of Justice before the CCT is void as the provisions of section 24 (1) of the CCB and Tribunal was not complied with.

Ozekhome challenges Ehindero’s arraignment over corruption charges

The FCT High Court has set aside 1 August 2012 for hearing of the objection to the arraignment of the former inspector general of police, Sunday Ehindero by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over a six count of corrupt enrichment.

Counsel to Mr Ehindero, Mike Ozekhome, had challenged not only the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court but also the competence of the counsel to ICPC,  Ahmed Bassi, to appear in the matter in the first place.

Mr Ozekhome said Mr Bassi, has no authority under law to represent the commission in the matter, an exclusive reserve of the attorney general of the federation and officers in the ministry of justice.

He said that the issues raised were fundamental to the matter.

The presiding judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi thereafter gave Mr Bassi seven days to reply to the notice of objection and eight days to the defense counsels to respond so that the court can hear and rule on the objection.

Although Mr Ehindero and his co accused John Obaniyi were docked, they however did not take any pleas to the amended charges proffered against them by the ICPC.

 

457 Nigerians are serving in Brazilian jails

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have stressed the need for government to take steps to tackle the problem of drug trafficking by Nigerians in foreign countries following the presence of almost 500 Nigerians in Brazilian jails over drug related offences.

According to members of the House of Representatives Committee on diaspora, there are 457 Nigerians in Brazilian prisons for various offences including drug trafficking.

The lawmakers, highlighted the problem of bad leadership in the country, and stressed the need for the federal government and relevant agencies to provide basic necessities for the citizens across the country.

The chairman of the committee, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who made this known at a news conference, said that the number included 14 women. “The number of Nigerians in Brazilian prisons is more than the number of Nigerians in prisons across Europe”, she stated distastefully.

“Lets tell ourselves the truth, Brazil was no where to be as a country fifteen years ago, but it took just the effort of one man and the vision of a leader to change this. We (Nigeria) are not where we should be and we really must change the fortune of this country.”

The lawmaker also decried the growing poverty ttrend in the country which was recently affirmed by the Bureau of statistics that over 100 million Nigerians now live below the poverty line.

She called for urgent economic reforms by the federal government as she noted that “more Nigerian were getting poorer while a very few were getting richer.”

She noted that the committee would interact with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Federal Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look at the treaties signed with Brazil.

According to Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa there is a need for public enlightenment to educate Nigerians on the implications of drug trafficking.

Another member of the committee, Abudulrahman Terab said that the plight of Nigerians in Brazilian prisons required the intervention of the Federal Government.

On the need for the enhance the processing of international passports to Nigerians abroad, Betty Apiafi who is also a member of the committee stated that the National Assembly would make adequate budgetary allocation to Nigerian missions to acquire international passports for Nigerian citizens abroad.

She noted that a situation where Nigerians had to come back to the country before they could renew their passports was unacceptable.

“If all Nigerian missions were provided with their own passport machines, the rate at which other countries’ nationals were claiming Nigerian nationality would be reduced drastically” she observed.