Counter Court Orders Emerge On PDP Leadership     

PDPThe battle for the leadership of the Nigeria’s main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to have shifted to the courts, with counter orders emanating from different courts.

In one case, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted an interim injunction restraining the immediate past National Chairman and National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Professor Adewale Oladipo from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

The duo were among the party officers removed from office at the PDP national convention held on Saturday, May 21, in Port Harcourt.

The court says this is pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice brought before it by the PDP.

A statement personally signed by the presiding judge, Justice A. M. Liman, says INEC has been restrained by the court from according or continuing to accord any recognition to Senator Sheriff, Professor Adewale Oladipo or any or all members of the National Working Committee of the PDP removed from office at the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt, as officers or organs of the PDP.

The court went on to ask INEC to recognise the National Caretaker Committee of the party headed by Senator Ahmed Markarfi.

But in a counter ruling, a Federal High Court in Lagos has declared as invalid the caretaker committee constituted to take over the affairs of the PDP from its acting National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Justice Ibrahim Buba directed the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to enforce its order, barring the members of the committee, headed by former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi from running the affairs of the party.

 

PDP National Convention Is Illegal, Gulak Claims

Ahmed-GulakThe former Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Ahmed Gulak, has described as illegal, the National Convention held by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Gulak made the declaration on Sunday’s Politics where he noted that Saturday’s convention was not held in line with the PDP constitution.

“First and foremost, the party cannot be run by common sense, experience or by the powers that be. The party must be run in accordance with the provision of the constitution.

“Chapter 33 of the party’s constitution only mandates the Chairman to surmount and preside over the convention while Chapter 35 gives the National Convention powers to elect the new officers under the chairmanship or presided over by the national chairman,” he stated.

Violation of Court Orders

Claiming that Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff was still the present Chairman of the party, Mr Gulak said that the former Borno State Governor was slammed with a court order by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos and another by Justice A.B. Mahmud of the FCT High Court, which made it illegal for such convention to hold.

“These two orders prevented the PDP and any of its officers from conducting convention to elect its first three officers that is the secretary, chairman and the auditor (and) while another order by the Abuja High Court, prevented the party from electing 18 officers including all the NWC.

“With these orders still valid and subsisting, no reasonable law abiding party officer will go ahead in violation of these court orders,” he said.

The former President’s aide explained that that was why the former PDP Chairman in the early hours of Saturday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State’s capital, convened a meeting with some of the members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), where they resolved that the convention was illegal.Ali-Modu-Sheriff-former-PDP-chairman

He said Senator Sheriff subsequently issued a press conference to suspend the convention until the issues of the court judgments and orders were sorted out.

Despite Senator Sheriff’s suspension of the convention, some members of the party insisted that the convention must be held as planned.

They further removed the Chairman and set up a working committee.

Missing N30trn: Okonjo-Iweala Takes Legal Action

Okonjo-IwealaThe former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says that she was never served any court processes in relation to the allegation by former CBN Governor, Professor Charles Soludo that 30 trillion Naira was missing during the past administration.

The suit was instituted by the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

A statement signed by the former minister’s Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, says that she has instructed her lawyers to take steps to set aside the judgment as it affects her.

The statement adds that the decision of SERAP to anchor its case on an allegedly baseless and unsubstantiated allegation by former CBN Governor, Professor Charles Soludo that 30 trillion Naira is missing confirms SERAP’s alleged dubious motives and its role as a tool for politically motivated actors.

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had ordered Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government to provide information on the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion.

The fund, according to the court, represents some accruable income to the Federal Government during the last four years of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The judgment was delivered by Justice Ibrahim Buba following a Freedom of Information suit brought by SERAP.

SERAP’s suit followed revelations by the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, that at least N30 trillion “has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years under the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s watch.”

You Must Account For Alleged Missing N30tn, Court Tells Okonjo-Iweala, FG

Dr-Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-2The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government to provide information on the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion.

The fund according to the court represents some accruable income to the Federal Government during the last four years of the Administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The judgment was delivered last week by Justice Ibrahim Buba following a Freedom of Information suit brought by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

SERAP’s suit followed revelations by the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, that at least N30 trillion “has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years under the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s watch.”

Justice Buba said, “Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested for. The Court has gone through the application and agrees that SERAP’s application has merits and the argument is not opposed. SERAP’s application is granted as prayed.”

The Court agreed with the arguments by SERAP Deputy Director, Olukayode Majekodunmi that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government “should have either supplied the information requested by SERAP or communicate her denial within 7 days of receipt of the letter from SERAP if she considers that the request should be denied.”

The judgment by Justice Buba reads in part: “Preliminary objection by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government is misconceived, the court upholds the arguments by SERAP for the reasons stated herein.”

“SERAP commenced this proceeding by way of Originating Summons dated 23 February 2015 and filed 25 February 2015. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government filed a Memorandum of Conditional Appearance, a Notice of Preliminary Objection and written address, all undated but filed on 29 September 2015.”

“The preliminary objection is on the following grounds: that SERAP did not obtain the mandatory leave of the Federal High Court to issue and serve the Originating Summons and other processes outside Lagos State; that there is no mandatory endorsement on the Originating Summons that it is to be served on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government in Abuja and outside jurisdiction of this Court.”

“The only issue for determination is whether Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government should be heard on their preliminary objection considering the totality of the circumstances of this case.”

“He who wants equity must do equity. This suit was filed on 25 February 2015 and from the record of the court was served on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government on 3rd July, 2015. It took about 3 months for them to come up with technical response to the simple request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.”

“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have therefore been caught by Order 29 of the Rules of this Court, which requires that an application shall be made within 21 days after service on the Defendants of the originating summons.”

“If Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government want to raise issues about service, the law does not permit of demurer. The proper route for them should have been to join issues with the originating summons and also file their objections. In the present case by SERAP, the Notice of Preliminary Objection by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government is incurably defective for not conforming to order 29 of the Rules of this Court.”

“The process adopted by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government in this suit is to come by way of demurer. This process has long been abolished by the Rules of this Court. By Order 16 Rule 1 of the Rules of this Court, no demurer shall be allowed and rule 2 provides that a party shall be entitled to pursue by his pleadings any point of law and any point of law so raised shall be disposed by the judge who tries the cause at or after trial.”

“The implication of this clear provision of the rule of court is that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government must join issues with SERAP on the originating summons no matter how flimsy, instead of looking for a technical way out. This technical way out has failed.”

“The concept of demurer as presently raised by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government is no longer known to law especially the Federal High Court of Nigeria. It is the position of the law that the application of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government should fail. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government, having failed to file Counter Affidavit to SERAP’s suit, are deemed to have forfeited that option of filing anything again.”

“Having shown why the Application by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government should be dismissed for failing to join issues with SERAP, the originating process must be moved on the merits.”

“On the issue of failure to obtain pre-requisite consent/leave of Court to issue and serve the originating summons on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government outside of jurisdiction, Order 6 Rule 31 states that ‘in this Order out of jurisdiction means out of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’”

“It is also necessary to refer to sections 97 and 99 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act. The provisions apply to the validity of the service and have nothing to do with the validity of the originating process. On the strength of this clear provision, which Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government did not deny and incapable of denying at this point, their objection is dismissed as the validity of the process is not affected in any way.”

“The main issue in this Court’s view bothers on the legal binding obligation imposed on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act access to a record of information requested for. In the case at hand, SERAP through its letter of 2 February 2015, Exhibit A, sought the information relating to the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion, which represents some accruable income to the Federal Government during the last 4 years of the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Exhibit A has been received by them, and Exhibit B is the acknowledgement of receipt of Exhibit A.”

“However Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have since the receipt of the request letter failed, refused and or neglected to provide SERAP with the information it requested for within their custody. They should have either supplied the information requested by SERAP or communicate their denial within 7 days of receipt of the application from SERAP if it considers that the application should be denied.”

It would be recalled that SERAP in February 2015 dragged Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to court over “failure to provide information about spending of the alleged missing N30tn, which represents some accruable income to the Federal Government in the past four years.”

SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni said: “This judgment shows the important role that Nigerian courts can play in the efforts to promote transparency in government and combat corruption and the impunity of perpetrators. It also confirms that high-ranking government officials can no longer escape accountability for their action while in office. We urge Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to cooperate with the authorities in the efforts to ensure the full and effective enforcement of the judgment.”

Mr Soludo had earlier reportedly asked Mrs Okonjo-Iweala: “How many trillions of naira were paid for oil subsidy (unappropriated?) How many trillions (in actual fact) have been ‘lost’ through Customs duty waivers over the last four years? Can you tell Nigerians why the price of diesel has still not come down despite the crash in global crude oil prices, and how much is being appropriated by friends in the process?”

Court Stops S/West PDP Zonal Congress

Kwara State, PDPThe Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its national chairman, Ali Modu Sherrif, from conducting any election into the party’s Southwest Zonal Executive Committee.

Justice Ibrahim Buba also barred PDP from recognising any such election until the originating summons is determined.

The zonal congress was scheduled to hold on May 14 in Akure, Ondo State and Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State.

The judge made the order following an application by the incumbent Zonal Secretary, Chief ‘Pegba Otemolu.

He is suing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP, Sheriff and PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo.

The plaintiff is praying the court to hold that it was wrong for the party and its national officers to contemplate organising a zonal congress for the Southwest when the tenure of the Zonal Executive Committee members had not lapsed.

He contended that since members of the zonal EXCO were elected on October 11, 2014 to serve a four year tenure, their term would end on October 11, 2018.

Granting the plaintiff’s prayer, Justice Buba held “that an order of interlocutory injunction is granted to the Plaintiff/Applicant restraining the second, third and fourth defendants from conducting or permitting or recognizing any election into the offices of the South West Zonal Executive Committee pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons.”

The implication is that the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led zonal EXCO will continue in office until the suit is determined.

Justice Buba adjourned till May 24 for hearing.

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: Court Strikes Out FG’s Objection To Bi-Courtney Suit

ObazeeThe Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a preliminary objection filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) in a suit by Bi-Courtney Services Ltd.

The AGF filed the objection in November 3, 2015, urging the court to make an order dismissing or striking out the suit for being statute barred.

The defendant said Bi-Courtney lacked the locus standi to prevent the Federal Government from rehabilitating or reconstructing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway which is a public infrastructure.

AGF said the plaintiff lacked reasonable cause of action that could sustain the reliefs sought, urging the court to hold that the defendant was not a juristic person.

Ruling on the preliminary objection on Monday, Justice Ibrahim Buba held that the objection lacked merit.

The court held that having carefully read all the processes filed as well as arguments of counsel, it was clear that the action was commenced to protect the “res” or reliefs in a sister case.

The court held that the suit could not be heard without making reference to the pending suit.

Justice Buba, accordingly, dismissed the preliminary objection and held that it was academic.

Bi-Courtney commenced court action in 2012 to redress the Federal Government’s purported termination of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.

It is contending that the purported concession granted to Motorways Limited through the Infrastructure Bank did not go through any due process.

It said it was never advertised in newspapers as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act expressly provides that concessions in Nigeria must be advertised in two national dailies.

The commission, the plaintiff said, must also issue a no-objection approval before the concession is taken to the Federal Executive Council for approval. None of these elementary steps were taken, Bi-Courtney said.

Justice Buba adjourned the case till May 12 for hearing.

EFCC Separates Tompolo From Charges

EFCC Separates Tompolo From ChargesThe EFCC has separated former Niger Delta Militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo from a 40-count charge of alleged fraud and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency was forced to separate Tompolo from the charges it filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos after it declared that the former Niger Delta Militant was still on the run.

Tompolo was listed as the first accused person in the said charge which the EFCC filed in January before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi and four other persons were also listed in the charge as co-accused persons.

The five were charged alongside four companies – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited.

However, efforts to arraign them had failed since January owing to the refusal of Tompolo to honour the court summons issued on him to appear in court.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Tompolo was again absent in court as his lawyers, Mr Tayo Oyetibo and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa were also absent.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, told the presiding judge that the charge against the accused persons had been amended with Tompolo’s name removed.

He said Tompolo would be arraigned and tried separately from the others as soon as he was apprehended by the security agencies.

With the permission of the court, the other accused persons took their plea on the 40 counts levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The charges bordered on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion and laundering of various sums of money belonging to NIMASA.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Justice Buba later admitted them to bail before adjourning the commencement of their trial till May 23.

Meanwhile, the judge also adjourned till April 18, for the EFCC to arraign Mr Akpobolokemi and others on another 22-count charge.

Tompolo had also been listed as the first accused person in the charge, but his name was removed following his failure to show up to answer to the charges.

The EFCC said he would also be arranged separately on the 22 counts whenever he is produced before the court.

Earlier, Justice Buba had on January 14, issued a warrant for his arrest and the said warrant was renewed on February 8.

The EFCC had also declared Tompolo wanted through a newspaper advertorial and it had also obtained a court order to seize Tompolo’s assets pending when he would submit himself for trial.

Court Convicts 14 Foreigners For Illegal Dealing In Petroleum Products

CourtThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted 14 foreigners for dealing in petroleum products in Nigeria without lawful authority.

Justice Ibrahim Buba on Friday, found them guilty of dealing in 1,738.087 metric tons of petroleum product  without lawful authority or licence as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the judgment, Justice Buba held that he was satisfied that the prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo had proved its case against the defendants beyond reasonable doubts.

The judge then sentenced 11 out of the 14 convicted foreigners to two years imprisonment each with an option to a pay a fine of 5 million Naira each on the five counts levelled against them.

The Court also said that the sentence would run from last year March when they were apprehended by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the EFCC.

Three of the foreigners, who had jumped bail and absconded, were sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.

The three convicts who jumped bail are Russians.

The judge convicted and sentenced them in absentia and issued a warrant for their arrest, emphasising that their jail term would commence on whatever day they would be re-arrested.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the petroleum products and their vessel to the Federal Government.

He ordered the two companies convicted alongside the foreigners to pay a 5 million Naira fine on each of the five counts levelled against them.

The EFCC had on June 10, 2015 arraigned the 14 convicts on four counts before Justice Buba.

The charge was later amended and the counts increased to five.

The convicts were arraigned alongside their vessel – MT Anuket Emerald, and two companies – Monjasa DMCC and Glencore Energy UK Limited.

Their names, as listed on the charge sheet, are: Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, Vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy and Cadavis Gerarado.

Others are: Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Beyan.

They were identified as citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Philippines and Japan.

The prosecutor, Mr Oyedepo, had told the court that the men were handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy which on March 27, 2015 intercepted them with their vessel, MT Anuket Emerald, loaded with crude oil estimated at 1,738.087 metric tons.

The foreigners were equally said to have been found in unlawful possession of 1,500 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil as well as 3,035 metric tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil.

They had pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of 50 million Naira each, which was guaranteed by Zenith Bank Plc.

Upon the disappearance of the three Russians, the court had subsequently ordered Zenith Bank to forfeit 150 million Naira to the Federal Government.

To prove the allegations against the convicts, Mr Oyedepo called seven witnesses, while the defence counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), called three witnesses.

In his judgment, Justice Buba said he was satisfied that the prosecution proved its case against the defendants beyond reasonable doubts, adding that he had no difficulty in convicting them on all the five counts preferred against them.

Upon their conviction, the defence counsel, Koku, urged the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the convicts were young men in their prime, who had no previous records of conviction.

Koku said the 11 convicts, who were in court, were only employees carrying out the instruction of their employer and were not privy to the deal.

“We plead for mercy, My Lord,  Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.’ The convicts are young men in the prime of their lives. They have no family ties in Nigeria. In fact, the convicts here are not the ones in control of the ship. They can at best be described as the laymen of the crew,” Koku said.

Quoting James 2:3 from the Bible and making reference to the Quran, Koku urged the judge to allow mercy to triumph over judgment.

On his own part, Oyedepo said that the EFCC had found no previous conviction record on the convicts.

He urged the judge to “invoke the spirit behind Section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act,” in sentencing them.

Court Fixes Arraignment Of Distressed NIB, 16 Others For April 11

Court on NIBThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 11 for the trial of a distressed bank, Nigerian International Bank (NIB) Limited, and 16 other accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba fixed the date to allow the prosecution effect service of the 20-count criminal charge on the defendants for an alleged fraud of 2.6 billion Naira.

When the case came up in court on Wednesday, only the first defendant was represented.

The prosecutor, Mr Gordy Uche, told the court that the prosecution was still faced with difficulty in effecting service of the charge on the other defendants.

He consequently sought for an order to serve them through substitute service.

Justice Buba granted the application and ordered that the court processes be served on the defendants through their place of residence.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have conspired among themselves to induce MicMerah International Agency Limited to deliver the said sum to them, to be used for offsetting a fraudulent import finance facility scheme.

They were also alleged to have falsified documents to fraudulently secure the release of four Volvo luxury buses and two 40-feet containers from the Nigeria Custom Service.

They are also to face a charge of obtaining property by false pretence and as corruptly enriching themselves.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 1(1) (a), 1(3), and 8 (A), of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act, 2004.

They also violated Sections 161 and 162 of the Custom and Excise Management Act; Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004 as well as sections 2, 2(1) and 10 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property Act, 2004.

If found guilty, the law stipulates a period of 20 years imprisonment.

Three Witnesses Testify Against Akpobolokemi, Others

AkpobolokemiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has presented three new prosecution witnesses against a former Director- General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others, before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos in a 2.3billion Naira money laundering charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, two of the witnesses, Yahaya Yusuf and Wakili Dauda, who are both Bureau De Change operators, told the court how they received and changed into dollars, various sums of money on behalf of the second accused person, Captain Ezekiel Agaba.

The monies: 230.9 million Naira, 145.3 million Naira and another 85.5 million Naira were paid between November 7 and 14, 2014 from a company ‘Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited’ into an account: Kofar Fada Nigeria Limited, belonging to the Bureau De Change operators.

Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited was one of the companies alleged to have benefited from the disbursement of over two billion Naira from the Committee on International Shipping and Port Security (ISPS) in NIMASA.

The witnesses confirmed that after the money was credited into the account, the dollar equivalent of the entire sum was taken to the second accused person’s office in NIMASA and handed to him.

A 9th prosecution witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director with NIMASA, also told the court that her department is in charge of revenue collection, processing and payment of contracts and that all payments in the agency were approved by Mr Akpobolokemi.

Affirming that no payment could be made in NIMASA without the approval of the former Director- General, she identified the second accused person, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, as the Chairman of the Committee on International Shipping and Port Security (ISPS), disclosing to the court that he was reporting directly to Akpobolokemi.

She confirmed that the approval for constituting the Committee was obtained from the Presidency through the office of the National Security Adviser, stressing that it was Akpobolokemi that obtained the approval.

The witness explained that the instruction for payments through the Committee, normally emanates from Akpobolokemi to Agaba, who will then issue a memo to the Director of Financial Services to make payments to any beneficiary stated in the memo.

She told the court that on four occasions between June 2013 and August 2014, the ISPS account received monies in the sum of 2 billion Naira; 1.1 billion Naira; 795 million Naira and 447 million Naira respectively.

Ogunsanya identified the account opening packages of the Committee domiciled at Access Bank and Zenith Bank. The documents were then admitted into evidence as exhibits.

According to the witness, all approvals for the release of the above sums were obtained from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation by Akpobolokemi.

She was subsequently shown the approval for the release of the sum of 1.1 billion Naira which she identified and same was also admitted as exhibit.

Justice Buba has adjourned the matter to March 1, for continuation of trial.

Witness Continues Testimony In Former NIMASA Boss, Others Trial

NIMASAThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and six others continued on Tuesday.

The accused are being tried on a 22 count charge bordering on allegations of conversion and theft to the tune of 2.6 billion Naira at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The 5th prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Emeka Emenalo, continued his testimony before the court.

He told Justice Ibrahim Buba under cross examination that he personally withdrew several sums of money from his company account within the period his account was credited by NIMASA with about 72 million Naira.

This was contrary to his earlier testimony that he did not personally benefit from the money which was paid into his account despite not rendering any service to the agency.

The witness, however, explained that there were other cash inflows into his account during the period.

Examining his account statement which was tendered before the court as exhibit, the witness said he transferred 700,000 Naira to his sister and 20 million Naira to his brother on March 6, 2016 among other transfers.

The 5th prosecution witness, who earlier introduced himself as the sole proprietor of O2 Services Plus Nigeria Limited, said his younger brother, Uche Emenalo, had linked up with the third accused person in the suit.

He added that it was both of them who used his company to obtain the funds from NIMASA for a contract which was never executed.

Apart from Akpobolokemi, the other accused persons were Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan and three companies namely: Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited, and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

They are facing trial before Justice Buba and had all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The EFCC said the alleged offences contravened the provisions of sections 15 (1), 15 (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

Court Jails Two For Cash Smuggling

CourtTwo Nigerians have been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment respectively by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The convicts, Ojukwu Roland and Ngene Chibuike, were arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria while attempting to smuggle $5,424,270 out of the country.

Rowland was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 22, 2015 for being in possession of cash in the sum of $2,917,272 during his outbound clearance for a journey to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Contrary to the requirements of the law, Rowland did not declare the money to officials of the Nigeria Customs Service and was subsequently arrested and arraigned before Justice Buba.

He pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge preferred against him and the matter went into full trial.

Justice Buba found him guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment, ordering that the convict should forfeit the entire sum of $2,917,272 to the Federal Government.

Justice Buba said that the convict did not do the right thing by failing to declare the money to Customs officials.

He ruled that the two-year imprisonment should take effect from February 9.

Chibuike, on the other hand, was arraigned on October 22, 2015 for falsely declaring the sum of $11,500 out of the sum of $2,506,998 he had in his possession during an outbound clearance for a journey to China en-route Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He also pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge raised against him and the matter went into full trial.

Justice Buba found him guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment, ruling that the convict should forfeit the sum of $2,495, 498 not declared to the Customs officials to the Federal government.

He ruled that the two-year imprisonment should take effect from February 9.