Court Sacks Delta Senator-Elect, Nwaoboshi

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sacked the Senator-elect representing Delta North Senatorial District, Senator  Peter Nwaoboshi.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed in a Judgment delivered held that Nwaoboshi who is a serving senator was not the winner of the October 2, 2018 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) primary held to select a candidate for the 2019 general election.

Justice Mohammed subsequently ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Ned Nwoko as the candidate of the PDP, having established the fact before the court that Nwoko scored a majority of the lawful votes at the primary election.

READ ALSO: NJC Concludes Hearing On Petition Against Onnoghen, Tanko

The court also ordered  Senator Nwaoboshi from parading himself as the candidate of the PDP for the senatorial zone.

Mister ned Nwoko through his counsel Ahmed Raji,] had dragged INEC, PDP, and the sacked senator before the court praying for an order to stop INEC from publishing or further publishing the name of Senator Nwaoboshi as the candidate for Delta North Senatorial District.

Nwoko also asked for another order compelling the PDP to forward his name to INEC as the authentic candidate of the party for the senatorial district in the 2019 general election.

The plaintiff predicated his suit on seven grounds which was supported by a 20 paragraph affidavit evidence and five exhibits, claimed that he was screened and cleared for the Delta North Senatorial District by the PDP Electoral Committee.

He claimed among others that at the end of the primary election he scored 453 votes to defeat his closest rival, Peter Nwaoboshi who scored 405 while Paul Osaji came third with 216 votes.

Nwoko, however, claimed that to his surprise, the PDP jettisoned the result of the primary election and forwarded Nwaoboshi’s name as its candidate for the Senatorial District.

He disclosed that all efforts to redress the injustice through the party’s appeal panel were unsuccessful.

In their defense, the respondents attacked the suit of the plaintiff on the grounds that it was statute barred since it was not filed within the 14 days provided for by law.

They also claimed that the suit constituted an abuse of court process since the plaintiff had earlier filed a similar suit at the Federal Capital Territory High Court which was struck out.

However, delivering Judgment, the court held that the case of the plaintiff was not statute barred and did not also amount to forum shopping.

According to Justice Mohammed, the plaintiff’s case is not against the conduct of October 2, 2018, primary but the continuous display of the name of the third defendant (Nwaoboshi) as the candidate of the PDP for the senatorial zone for the purpose of the 2019 general election.

Justice Mohammed said he was satisfied with the Certified True Copies (CTC) of the ballot papers used for the primary election made available to the court by the plaintiff to establish his case.

The judge observed that the PDP though disputed the claims of Nwoko on the ballot papers, he said the same PD, however,r failed to produce ballot papers used for the election when ordered to do so in December 2018.

Subsequently, Justice Mohammed having held that the plaintiff has established that he is the winner of the October 2, 2018 primary is entitled to his claim and consequently granted the relief sought by Nwoko.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Grants Yakubu Bail

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Grants Former NNPC GMD, Andrew Yakubu Bail EFCCA former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (GMD NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, has been granted bail in the sum of 300 million Naira.

Mr Yakubu is facing a six-count charge of money laundering preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The charges were all in relation to the money allegedly recovered from his house in Kaduna State on February 3.

Following his arraignment on March 16, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered that the former NNPC boss be remanded in Kuje Prison.

Ruling on the defendant’s bail application, Justice Mohammed observed that he has no reason to believe that Mr Yakubu would jump bail.

He then proceeded to grant him bail for 300 million Naira with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said the sureties must own properties which must worth the bail sum within the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, refused to grant the prayer of the defence counsel for an order to release the accused person’s international passport, which was said to be in the EFCC custody.

Justice Mohammed ordered Mr Yakubu to remain in prison pending when the defendant would meet the bail conditions.

He also adjourned until May 9 for the commencement of trial.

Ondo PDP: Court Reinstates Odimayo As Ode-Irele State Constituency Winner

Ondo PDPThe crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to be far from over.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reinstated Mr Gbadebo Odimayo as the winner of State House of Assembly primary election for Ode-Irele State Constituency.

Delivering judgment on the suit filed by Mr Odimayo, challenging his substitution by the PDP, Justice Ahmed Mohammed said that having won the November 29, 2014 primary election monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Ondo PDP breached the law by fielding Mr Philip Ajimotoki in the general election.

Although the lawyer to the plaintiff applauded the judgment, lawyer to the defendant announced plans to immediately appeal against the judgment in addition to filing for a stay of execution of the judgment.

$2.1Billion Arms Deal: Former PDP Chairman’s Trial Begins

Haliru Mohammed's trialThe trial of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Haliru Mohammed, has opened before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

At the commencement of the trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), presented it’s first witness, Rouqayya Ibrahim, an analyst in the Forensic Unit of the Agency.

The witness told the court that during their investigation in 2015, the Agency ‎discovered documents from the office of the Accountant General – a letter written by the Ministry of Finance to the Central Bank of Nigeria, requesting for the sum of 100 billion Naira with 30 billion Naira specifically earmarked for security issues.

Mrs Ibrahim further said that 300 million Naira, out of the 30 billion Naira, was paid into the account of the office of the National Security Agency and transferred into an account with Sterling Bank, named Bank Project and Property Limited.

She added that the payment of 300 million Naira, was paid in two tranches into the same account on the February 27, 2015.

The witness further revealed that there was a transfer of 50 million Naira, in five tranches of 10 million Naira each to the Abuja Geographical Information Systems for the purpose of mass housing development.

Mrs Ibrahim, however, said that the owner of Bank Project and Properties Limited was arrested and after thorough investigation, he said that the payments were made on behalf of his father, who is the accused.

The trial has been adjourned till February 23.

EFCC Opens Money Laundering Case Against Suswan

EFCC on SuswanThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria has opened a money laundering case against the former Governor of Benue State.

At the hearing of the case on Monday, an operative of the EFCC told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the petition, which Mr Mr Gabriel Suswan was indicted for, was an anonymous petition.

While testifying in the trial of the former Benue State Governor, Mr Junaidu Saidu, informed the court that the petitioner could not be located and the address provided on the petition does not exist.

Under cross examination, counsel to Mr Suswan, Joseph Daudu, also admitted that the email sent by the anti-graft agency to the petitioner was not delivered because the address does not also exist.

Mr Daudu told Justice Ahmed Mohammed that the EFCC attempted to invite the petitioner through the address provided on the petition for clarification on the allegation, but could not trace the petitioner.

He said the petition, which was titled ‘Truth Shall Overcome Evil Minds’ could not be associated with any person or organisation.

However,  attempts by counsel to Mr Suswan to tender a Federal High Court judgment delivered in 2007 which held that the EFCC had no power to investigate the financial activities of a state government, was turned down by Justice Mohammed on the ground that it does not need to admit the judgment before taking a judicial notice of its content.

The EFCC had put Suswan on trial on the allegation that he sold off shares belonging to Benue State Investment and Property Limited worth nine billion Naira without the consent of the State House of Assembly and diverted the proceeds to personal use.

He was also tried for breach of trust and money laundering.

IPOB Leader Expresses Lack Of Confidence In Judicial Process

Nnamdi KanuThe leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, has protested his trial before Justice Mohammed Ahmed of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Kanu, who is the founder of Radio Biafra, refused to take plea on a six count charge of treason, importation of illegal good and possession of fire arms filed against him by the Department of State Services on the ground that will not get fair trial.

Kanu, who was docked with two others says he lacks confidence in the court because information available to him indicated that he will not get a fair trial before the judge.

According go to him, he will not sacrifice the due process of the law founded in the principles of natural justice upon the altar of speedy release from detention.

“I will rather remain in detention than subject myself to a trial that I know amounts to perversion of justice”, he said.

Reacting to Mr Kanu’s protest, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Mohammed Diri, asked the court to discountenance the objection on the ground that the accused person ought to come before the court with a proper application.

He also adds that such a protest can only be made after an accused person takes his plea.

But his counsel, Mr Vincent Obetta, stood behind his client and asked the court to oblige his client’s request.

In a short ruling Justice Ahmed Mohammed said he agreed with the accused person’s protest, especially as it bothers on the issue of confidence in a judicial process.

Justice Ahmed said that since the confidence of the court has been questioned, he will return the case file to the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court for further action.

Judge Returns Saraki’s Trial File, Wants Case Reassigned

high court judge on saraki's caseA Federal High Court Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, has sent the case file of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to the Chief Judge for reassignment in Abuja .

Justice Mohammed on Wednesday, said that the action was as a result of “negative reports” from online media that he granted an order restraining the Code of Conduct Tribunal from hearing the matter and that he has been compromised by the plaintiff, Senator Saraki, allegations he said are bound to put any judgement on the matter to question.

The Federal High Court in its rulings last week, held that the respondents, Code of Conduct Bureau be put on notice of the ex-parte applications brought by the Senate President seeking to stop his arrest by the police and stay proceedings before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false assets declaration.

‎It will also be recalled that the hearing of the appeal filed by the Senate President over alleged false assets declaration at the Court of Appeal was stalled on Tuesday.

The proceedings were stalled following the death of the Presiding Judge of Abuja division, Justice Abdulkadir Jega and Justice Musa Hassan Alkali of the Ilorin division both of the Court of Appeal who were victims of the stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of alleged corruption and false declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

He denies any wrongdoing and says the case was instigated by those angry he became the Senate president.

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.

EFCC Files Fresh Corruption Charges Against Sylva

efccThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has filed fresh corruption charges against the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Timipre Sylva.

Sylva is charged alongside Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, and Samuel Ogbuku, for allegedly used three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited, to move about 19.2 billion naira from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012, under false pretence of using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of the state government workers.

The action of the anti-graft agency comes two days after Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court dismissed the 42-count charge of stealing brought against Sylva and his co-accused by the EFCC, on the grounds that the prosecution’s application to consolidate the charges against the defendants amounted to an abuse of court process.

The case is, however, yet to be assigned to any judge to pave way for the arraignment of Sylva and the other accused persons.

Recently, a Nigerian lawyer, Festus Keyamo, had withdrawn as the counsel prosecuting the former governor, saying recent developments have necessitated his decision from further prosecution.

He also said that the developments may hamper his effective, efficient and vigorous prosecution of the charge, duties that are expected of every prosecutor.

Court Confirms Gambo Lawal As PDP Candidate For Borno

court-PDPThe Federal High Court in Abuja has confirmed Gambo Lawal, as the veritable Borno State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2015 governorship election.

In the judgement delivered by the preceding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, the court held that the defendant, Mohammed Imam, did not show any concrete evidence before the court to indicate that he participated in the PDP primaries, to warrant the party to submit his name as the candidate for the election.

He further mentioned that the allegation on forgery of certificate, leveled against the plaintiff was also not proven.

The Judge therefore, said the plaintiff fulfilled all requirements and his name should be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the governorship candidate for the PDP in Borno State.

Gambo Lawal in the suit, asked the court to determine the genuine governorship candidate of the PDP in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state, pointing out that his substitution with Mohammed Imam, was a gross violation of the PDP.

Another reason for Lawal’s suit was for the court to restrain the PDP and  INEC from recognizing and dealing with Mohammed Imam, as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.