The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application filed by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, seeking a stay of proceedings in the certificate forgery case instituted against him.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and a chieftain of the party, Williams Edobor, had filed a suit against Governor Obaseki, accusing him of forging the first-degree certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable him to contest the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The plaintiff also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subject Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam.
Obaseki in his appeal had asked the federal high court in Abuja to suspend the case indefinitely on the grounds that he had filed an application at the appellate court.
A 44-year-old Man, Akeem Yusuf, was on Monday arraigned before an Osun State Magistrate Court sitting in Osogbo, on one count bordering on forgery.
Police Prosecutor, Lamidi Rasaki explained to the court that the accused person forged a letter head paper, seal, official stamp, and the signature of one Barrister Gbadebo Aliu Adeshina & Co.Chamber and used the documents to prepare a letter of appeal to the U.K Embassy on March 13, 2017 at Kolabalogun Area, Osogbo.
He added that the alleged offence contravened Section 467 (4)(8) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Voll.11 Laws of Osun State Nigeria 2003.
However, Yusuf pleaded not guilty to the allegation preferred against him.
On his part, counsel to the accused person, Barrister Okobe Nagite applied for the bail of his client in the most liberal terms.
In her ruling, however, Magistrate Olubokola Awodele ordered that the accused person be remanded in Ilesa prison custody.
She, thereafter, adjourned the case till August 25, 2017 for ruling on bail.
The trial of Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia continued on Monday at the Lagos High Court sitting in the Ikeja area.
The first prosecution witness, Ademola Oshodi detailed in court how monies were paid and moved between the judge’s domiciliary account and her other accounts.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had accused Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia of unlawful enrichment, corruption by a public officer, forgery and giving of false information to an official of the EFCC.
She is standing trial alongside a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, who was charged with offering gratification in the sum of five million Naira to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, a public official while carrying out her duties as a judge.
The accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At Monday’s proceedings, the court proceeded with trial despite efforts by the judge’s lawyer, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), to halt the trial.
The SAN asked for an adjournment, on the grounds that he had a pending application asking the EFCC to provide him with some documents in relation to the case.
The prosecution witness told the court how Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, approached his bank, Diamond Bank to open a corporate account for her company.
Upon verification, the bank found out that address she gave for the company, Nigel and Colive was an uncompleted building.
The witness, however, said the bank went ahead and opened the corporate account for the company in good faith because of the defendant’s position as a Federal High Court judge, and also because the property belongs to her.
The witness further detailed in court how he helped the judge move large sums of foreign currencies between her three accounts domiciled with Diamond Bank.
The defense counsel declined to comment on the day’s proceedings but the prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo did.
Presiding Judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi has adjourned the matter till January 30, for continuation of trial and possibly the hearing of the first defendants pending application.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), have visited the home of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, at Park View Estate in Ikoyi, Lagos.
It was gathered that the EFCC officials who stormed the house at about 7am on Wednesday, were there to conduct a search but eventually left after being denied access into the house.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), are being prosecuted for allegedly perverting the course of justice by the anti-graft agency.
While Ofili-Ajumogobia faces a 26-count charge of unlawful enrichment, forgery and giving false information to an official of the EFCC, among others, Obla is charged with offering gratification in the sum of five million Naira, to Ofili-Ajumogobia during her service as a judge.
Both have however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has adjourned the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, to January 18 and 23, 2017.
The Supreme Court Justice, is standing trial for corruption, alleged money laundering, breach of professional ethics and passport forgery related offenses.
The adjournment followed an application by the counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Chief Kanu Agabi, who told the court that he needed more time to prepare for trials as some documents given to him by the prosecution still needed to be studied.
This did not go down well with the prosecutor who urged the court to turn down the application.
However, trial judge, Justice John Tsoho delivered his ruling in favour of the defendant, Ngwuta, on the ground that section 36 of the constitution allows a defendant time to prepare for his defense.
He also added that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, also allows parties in a suit to at least five request for adjournment, afterwhich he adjourned the case.
Justice Ngwuta is one of the justices arrested and detained by the department of state services on October 8, 2016 for corruption and breach of professional ethics.
In November, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta had entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges leveled against him by the federal government.
He was also been granted bail in the sum of 100 million Naira on self-recognition.
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta has entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges of money laundering, breach of professional ethics and forgery leveled against him by the federal government.
He has also been granted bail in the sum of 100 million naira on self-recognition.
When the charges were read to him, the Supreme Court judge told the court that he was not guilty of the 15 counts.
Attempt by his lawyer to ask for bail was opposed by the prosecutor, Mr Adeogun Philips who said he had just been served and would need a short adjournment to respond.
With no objection by the defence lawyers, the trial judge, Justice James Tsoho, stood down the case by two hours.
On resumption of hearing on the bail application, counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Kanu Agabi asked the court to release the defendant on self-recognizance, taking judicial notice of the fact that he is a justice of the Supreme Court and the fact that he has been on administrative bail since on October 8, 2016.
Opposing the application, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Charles Philips, said that the defendant cannot be granted bail with respect to his position.
Mr Philips, who referred to charges number three and charges numbers 10-16 against Justice Ngwuta, informed the tribunal that barely 20 minutes after he was released on administrative bail, Justice Ngwuta gave instructions to a witness in the case to remove two or three bags containing 27 million naira from his bathroom at his residence in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.
The prosecuting counsel also told the court that Justice Nwguta also instructed the said witness to remove three exotic cars from his residence on the same day and that they are nowhere to be found. That is what forms the subject of charge number three.
Speaking further he informed the court that in the course of investigation, the Department of State Services (DSS) discovered that Justice Ngwuta maintained multiple identities.
According to him Justice Ngwuta had four passports which he used concurrently.
Although he had reported two of those passports missing, he argued that in any jurisdiction in the world, if a person possesses several identities he cannot be released on self-recognizance.
He therefore asked the court not to grant bail but if it is inclined to, it should grant bail in the most stringent terms.
Reacting to the counter application, counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Mr Kanu Agabi, told the court that he was not willing to join issues with the prosecutor because he had gone into the substantive suit which is not allowed by law and that the constitution is clear as to when bail should be granted or not.
He added that should the court reach its conclusion based on the prosecutor’s submissions, verdict would have been decided before the case is started.
Having listen to both parties, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho stood down the matter for ruling at 2:30PM.
On resumption, Justice John Tsoho granted bail to Justice Sylvester Ngwuta in the sum of 100 million naira on self-recognizance.
According to Justice Tsoho though the prosecution sought to impress the court on the defendants’ unworthiness for bail, it failed to show that in spite of the concerns raised, the defendant had his administrative bail revoked.
He also added that it is no secret that the security agencies are watching every move made by the judge with kin interest, which is how they found that he had multiple passports.
As such the prosecution should rely on the same security apparatus to prevent any attempt not to be available for trial.
He added that it would be great injustice to prevent any citizen from enjoying bail in available offence.
According to Justice Tsoho, it is on record that the prosecution had filed an affidavit of completion of investigation and on the other hand it is raising objections that witnesses and evidence will be tampered with.
The prosecution, he said, should be able to maintain consistency rather than the inconsistencies.
Justice Tsoho then went on to say that there is no evidence before the court that Justice Ngwuta would not be available for his trial and because the offence for which he is standing trial is bailable, he is inclined to grant bail.
Trial has been fixed for December 7 and 8.
Justice Ngwuta was one of the seven judges arrested after a DSS raid on the homes of High Court and Supreme Court judges across the country on October 8, 2016.
An FCT High Court has struck out a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and forgery filed against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly Abubakar Maikasuwa and the current Deputy Clerk of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The trial judge, Justice Yusufu Halilu struck out the charges following an application by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar withdrawing the case.
Mr. Umar told the court that the charges against all four accused persons are withdrawn because the subject matter is before a court of coordinate jurisdiction.
With no objection from the defence counsel, Justice Yusuf struck out the charge and discharged all the accused persons.
The two Senate leaders were being arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.
All four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.
In the affidavit filed on June 10, the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.
It read: “The charges filed through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, by the Federal Government, against the senators reads that you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law”.
It also accused them of allegedly forging the Order, causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Senator Saraki has maintained that he knows nothing about how the rules adopted in the inauguration of the Eighth Senate on June 9, 2015 were formulated.
He said the on-going efforts to drag him into a case of forgery before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, was just another phase in the orchestrated persecution he has faced since he emerged as Senate President a little over a year ago.
Saraki, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he was not a part of the leadership of the 7th Senate that made the rules in question.
He also stated that prior to his unanimous election as Senate President on June 9, 2015, he was merely a Senator-elect like all his colleagues and therefore was not in a position to influence the rules that were to be used in the conduct of the election.
The Presidency has dismissed the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki’s claim of having a government within a government that has seized the apparatus of the executive power as pretentious and imaginary.
The Presidency asked him to back his claim with more information by identifying those who constitute the government within the government.
As far as the Federal Government is concerned the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and it is within his constitutional power to determine who has infringed upon the law and who has not.
Senator Bukola Saraki in a statement reiterated his innocence and that of his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the charges filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Senate President claimed that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
But according to the President’s media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, “Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed a criminal act has been committed, we leave the court to judge.”
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, claims there is “now a government within the government of President Buhari”, which has allegedly seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue a nefarious agenda.
This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the “government within the government,” it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.
But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything.
The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state. It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.
Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed. But we leave the courts to judge.
To claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is anybody’s stooge is not only ridiculous, but also preposterous. It is not in the character of our President.
Leaders from Central Africa met on Monday, to finalise plans for a military offensive against the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
Presidents from the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) pledged in an extraordinary meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, to create an $86 million emergency fund to fight Boko Haram.
They also urged the international community to provide more support to counter the terrorist group.
The insurgents have killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds in a five-year insurgency in northern Nigeria, and has recently intensified cross-border raids on neighboring countries in the Lake Chad area.
“This session is historic because we must use it to respond to the barbaric actions of the terrorist group Boko Haram,” the Secretary-General of ECCAS, Hamid Alami, said on Monday.
“My counterparts from the ECCAS and I decided to create an emergency fund of 50 billion CFA francs ($86.72 million) to fight Boko Haram,” the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, who was also present at the one-day summit, said on his personal Twitter account.
Nigeria, where elections had been postponed from February 14 to March 28 and April 11 because of the Boko Haram insurgency especially in the north-east, was absent from the meeting as it is part of ECOWAS and not an ECCAS member.
Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria had formed a military alliance to combat the Islamist group who is fighting against western influence in the northern part of Nigeria, as it wants to introduce Islamic law in the areas.
The Appeal Court has thrown out the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the decision of the tribunal which upheld the election of Governor Ayo Fayose in Ekiti State.
The court held that the appeal could not prove beyond reasonable doubts, allegations of forgery against the Governor.
They also did not prove how they were disenfranchised in the polls. To this end, there was no merit in the appeal and it was struck out.
The court, however, took a swipe at the government for deploying men of the Armed Forces during the polls.
According to the Appeal Court, the law does not make provisions for the deployment of Armed Forces for election, except within their barracks during the conduct of the polls.
Deploying military for the election, the court said, would only militarize the nation’s democracy.
In a two hour judgement delivered by a full panel of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Abdul Aboki, the court held that the appellants did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the certificate of the the Governor, issued by The Polytechnic Ibadan, was forged.
According to the Appeal Court, the APC failed to provide evidence before the court to back its claims.
The court also ruled that even though the impeachment of the Governor in 2006 was valid, it cannot constitute a ground for disqualification.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday declared three oil marketers implicated in the fuel subsidy scam wanted.
This was disclosed in a press statement signed by the acting head of media and publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwajuren.
The trio of Abdul Afeez Olarenwaju Olabisi of Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited, Abubakar Peters Ali Jeldi, managing director of Nadabo Energy Limited and Ikechukwu Onuabuchi Nworgu of Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited were declared wanted by the Commission for offences various offences including Criminal Conspiracy, Forgery, Obtaining Money by False Pretences and Money Laundering running into several billions of naira.
The statement described the trio as “Olabisi, 31, hails from Kwara State and speaks Yoruba, Hausa and English languages fluently. His last known address is Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited”.
“Jeldi, 34, is of the Igala stock from Kogi state, North Central Nigeria. He speaks his native Igala, Hausa and English languages fluently. His last known address are 4B Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island, Lagos and 15 Ogbunike Street , Lekki, Lagos”.
“Nworgu, 46, hails from Abia State . He speaks Igbo and English fluently. His last known address is Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited, 4A, Lander Close, Off Liverpool Road, Apapa – Lagos .
The statement further said “The trio allegedly obtained billions of naira as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund under false pretence, and disappeared in the wake of the Commission’s investigation of the subsidy regime”.
“The Commission enjoins anyone having information as to their whereabouts to contact its Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Port Harcourt and Abuja offices or through these numbers: 09-4604620, 070-26350721,070-26350722,070-26350723,070-6350724, 070-26350725; or by e-mail to: [email protected] or the nearest Police Station”.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered Alphonsus Ubanesse Igbeke, the Senator representing Anambra North senatorial district to appear before it to answer charges of forgery.
The Attorney General of the Federation in a suit “the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs.Senator Alphonsus Igbeke,” filed a two-count of criminal forgery and perjury against Mr Igbeke.
The suit, with charge number FHC/ABJCF/44/11 reveals that Mr Igbeke allegedly forged the senatorial primary result sheet for the People Democratic Party (PDP) of Anambra North senatorial district.
According to the fake result sheet, the embattled Senator was adjudged winner, having polled One thousand one hundred and seventy three (1,173) votes, while John Emeka (Jnr) came a distant third with One hundred and fifty six (156) votes.
The two count charge against Mr Igbeke reads:
COUNT ONE: That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke (M) on or about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, did make a forged document described as the Senatorial Primary Result Sheet for People Democratic Party(PDP) of Anambra North Zone Knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows:
John Emeka (Jnr) – 1562
Chief A Igbeke – 1173
Chief Dennis Odife – 154
Hon Uzoka Okwudili – 345
Hon Celestine Ughnaze – 297
Chief Tony Nnacheta – 25
COUNT TWO: That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke (M) on or about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, did make a forged document described as the Senatorial Primary Result Sheet for People Democratic Party (PDP) of Anambra North Zone Knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows:
John Emeka (Jnr) – 156
Chief A Igbeke – 1,173
Chief Dennis Odife – 154
Hon Uzoka Okwudili – 345
Hon Celestine Ughnaze – 297
Chief Tony Nnacheta – 25
With intent that it may be used by yourself to buttress your prayer to the Federal High Court in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/189/2011/ to be declared winner of the Senatorial Party Primary to the prejudice of John Emeka the real winner and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2)(c) of the miscellaneous Offences Act 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2)of the said act.
Justice Adamu Bello, who ruled on the application, countered the application of opposing counsel on whether the defendant’s motion to quash charges against him can be considered without arraignment and taking of plea.
The Judge, after considering the arguments by counsel – ordered that until the accused person is arraigned in court he cannot seek the indulgence of the court to hear his motion to quash charges against him.
Justice Bello further ruled that the accused must first appear in court to take his plea, and any objection on jurisdiction cannot be raised before arraignment.
On the application of the prosecution for a bench warrant to compel the accused person to appear in court, he urged that the first step is to issue a court summons to the accused. Failure to respond to the summons will then lead to a bench warrant being issued.
The trial judge then adjourned the case to 22nd of May 2012.