Metuh Loses ‘No-Case Submission’ Against EFCC

MetuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh, has lost his no-case submission filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Ruling on the suit on Wednesday, Justice Okon Abang, said that the prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, has been able to establish a ‘prima facie’ case against the defendant, as there were several questions he needed to answer.

While adjourning the trial to March 17, Justice Abang added that there was an urgent need for Mr Metuh to tell the court whether he gave $2 million to the first prosecution witness to source for Naira equivalent and the source of the fund.

Consequently, lawyer to Mr Metuh, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said that the defence team would take a second look at the ruling while the prosecution said that the coast was now clear for the PDP spokesman to prove his innocence.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is standing trial for alleged money laundering offences preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Tribunal Reserves Ruling On Rivers Governorship Election

Tribunal Reserves Ruling On Rivers Governorship ElectionThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to dismiss the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside, on the ground that it lacks merit and substance.

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, also called on the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying the petitioner failed to prove the several allegations against his election on April 11, 2015.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, after listening to the adoption of written addresses by counsels to the petitioners and the defendants adjourned the petition for judgment.

The defendants, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) and Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), while adopting their written addresses, claimed that the burden of proof rests on the petitioner who failed to discharge same before the tribunal.

The petitioner, Akin Olujimi (SAN), however, asked the tribunal to grant the reliefs sought in their petition, saying they have successfully proved their case.

With the adoption of written addresses by all the parties, the tribunal reserved judgment to a date to be announced to all the parties.

PDP Opens Defence At Rivers Governorship Tribunal

PDP Opens Defence At Rivers Governorship TribunalThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, has opened its defence of the April 11 governorship election won by Mr Nyesom Wike.

The process took place at the resumed hearing of the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Honourable Dakuku Peterside, challenging the outcome of the election.

The PDP insisted that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lawyer to the PDP, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), tendered incident forms and oath of affirmation of neutrality forms used by INEC Ad-hoc staff for the conduct of the election from several Local Government Areas and polling units to substantiate its victory at the polls.

Meanwhile, lawyer to the petitioners, Akin Olujimi (SAN), objected to the tendering of documents, stating that they are unacceptable in law.

As the tribunal continues its daily sitting in order to dispose the petition speedily, the PDP has five days to present relevant documents and call witnesses to defend its victory.

Court Sets November 17 To Hear Fani-Kayode’s No Case Submission

Femii_Fani-KayodeA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has fixed November 17, to rule on a ‘no-case submission’ filed by a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

Mr Fani-Kayode, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and is standing trial on an amended 40 count charge, of laundering about N100m.

In the ‘no case submission’, he argues that the EFCC has not succeeded in linking him to the charges, a situation which warrants him to make no defence.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele reports that the case against the former aviation minister will be dismissed if the court agrees with him and upholds his no case Submission.

At today’s sitting, the former minister’s Counsel, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), informed the court of the application for the no case submission and urged the court to adopt his submissions & discharge his client of all 40 counts of money laundering.

The lawyer argued that even though the statement of account of the accused person was put in evidence for which he was required by the prosecution to make explanations, such statement was not prima facie evidence of crime.

Citing the authority of Abacha vs State, the lawyer stressed that by the decision of the Supreme Court, such statements of account could only amount to mere suspicion, suspicion which no matter how well placed, did not constitute a prima facie case.

The prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, has however opposed the no case submission, and called on the former minister to put his defence forward.

He corrected the notion that the prosecution’s case does not concern lodgement, but transactions which took place before the lodgement.

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.

He therefore, urged the court to uphold the objection of the prosecution.

After listening to the submissions of counsels, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned the case to November 17 for ruling.

The former minister, Fani-Kayode was first arraigned sometime in December 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Mohammed had granted him bail in the sum of N200 Million with two sureties in like sum.

He was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, following the transfer of Justice Mohammed from the Lagos Division of the court.

The accused was again re-arraigned before Justice Ajumogobia on February 11, 2013 after the transfer of Justice Murtala-Nyako.

He was again re-arraigned before Ajumogobia on March 6, following the amendment of the 47-count charge to 40-counts, the EFCC having dropped seven of the counts.

Ajumogobia is the third judge to be ceased of the case in the last five years.

The EFCC opened its case before Justice Ajumogobia on March 10, calling a total of six witnesses including: Investigating Police Officers (IPOs), bank legal officers, bank relationship officer and a former aide to Fani-Kayode.

All witnesses had given various testimonies, as to their relationship with the accused, as well as the manner of investigations conducted on him.

The EFCC closed its case on July 10, while the defence counsel elected to file a no case submission on behalf of the accused on August 5. In the charge, the accused was alleged to have transacted with funds exceeding N500, 000 without going through a financial institution.

The accused was also alleged to have accepted cash payments in the tune of about N100 million, while he held sway as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.

The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.

Money Laundering: EFCC To Re-arraign Fani-Kayode On March 6

Femi-Fani-Kayode-2A Federal High Court in Lagos today fixed Thursday, March 6, for the re-arraignment of former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

The former minister is standing trial on charges of money laundering.

The case which was adjourned to March 5, for re-arraignment of Mr Fani Kayode was on Wednesday stalled.

Though no reason was given for the adjournment in open court, journalists gathered that it may have been at the instance of the prosecution.

At the last sitting of the court on Feb. 10, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia while ruling on the competence of the charge against the former aviation minister had ordered his re-arraignment.

The ruling was sequel to an objection raised by the defence counsel, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), who challenged the validity of the amended 40-count charge preferred against his client.

The former minister is facing an amended 40 count charge of laundering about N100m levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It would be recalled that Fani-Kayode was first arraigned sometime in December 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of N200 Million with two sureties in like sum.

He was again re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, after the transfer of Mohammed.

Justice Ajumogobia is the third judge to hear the case in the last five years, and the charge has now been amended to 40-counts after the EFCC dropped seven.

In the charge, the former minister was alleged to have conducted transactions with funds exceeding N500, 000 without going through a financial institution.

He was also alleged to have accepted cash payments to the tune of about N100million, while he held sway as minister of aviation and minister of culture and tourism respectively.

The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.

EFCC Amends Money Laundering Charges Against Fani-Kayode

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has pruned the allegations of money laundering levelled against former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

From an initial 47 count charge of laundering about N230 million, the charges were pruned down today to 40 counts of laundering about N100m.

The arraignment of the former aviation minister on the amended charges was however stalled today (Monday) as his counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) objected to the charges on the grounds that it was invalid. He refused to allow his client make his plea.

The defence counsel said he was objecting to the validity of the charges in line with Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The lawyer contended that his client is alleged to have received money from anonymous persons. He concluded that the charge was not only invalid but was also vague, persecutory and oppressive.

“They alleged that he accepted money. When you accuse somebody of accepting money, clearly the person from whom the money was accepted becomes important,” Mr. Adedipe stated.

“The other charges there…one of them accused him of having his wife pay money into his account. These charges cannot be valid,” he added.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo argued that the charge was not about stealing or conversion where the owner of the money must be stated.

“The very essence of the crime of money laundering is when the money has no origin, when you are caught with large sums of money and you cannot explain the source,” Mr. Keyamo said.

Our judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele reports that the trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, has asked both the prosecution and defence counsel to file their written addresses and adjourned ruling on the matter till the 3rd of February.

The Federal Government is prosecuting Mr. Fani-Kayode, at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Court To Rule On EFCC’s Prosecution Team Against Fani-Kayode On Tuesday

A Federal High Court Judge in Lagos, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia has fixed, Tuesday 25th of June to rule on whether the prosecution team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) led by Festus Keyamo can prosecute the money laundering case involving former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia fixed the date after lawyers in the matter adopted their written addresses.

The former Aviation Minister is standing trial before on a 47-count charge of laundering about N230million filed against him by the EFCC.

At the last sitting of the court on June 6, Fani-Kayode’s counsel; Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had challenged the appearance of the prosecutor, one Vitalis Ahaotu from the law firm of Festus Keyamo.

Counsel to the former Minister wondered whether the law firm had obtained the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute the matter or was prosecuting on behalf of the EFCC.

The Prosecutor has however countered by arguing that neither the defendant nor the court can inquire into the propriety of a counsel’s appearance in a criminal trial especially where the counsel has been properly briefed by his client.