5.2bn Naira Aviation Scam: AGF’s Request Stalls Trial Of Borishade, Others

EFCC on BorishadeHearing on a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the former Minister of Aviation, Babalola Borishade and four others, has been stalled on the request of the Attorney General of the Federation for a brief on the matter.

Mr Borishade and four others were to appear before Justice Abubakar Umar of the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, both parties were present in court, but Justice Umar informed them that the matter could not go on as planned, as the AGF had requested for a brief on the case by the EFCC since the matter had been in court for about seven years.

“He presented a letter dated February 2 from the AGF requesting for an adjournment of the case and records of court proceedings so far.

“Counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, told the court that his hands were tied with regards to continuing the proceeding, as the AGF, being the Chief Law Officer, has power over him,” the statement read.

The statement further read that Mr Okoroma said that “under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF has the power to take over, continue or discontinue a case”.

Counsel to the first defendant, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Regina Okotie- Eboh, representing the 4th and 5th defendants, who had initially sought for a dismissal of the case which was earlier slated for ruling on Wednesday, could not have their applications taken as a result of the letter from the AGF.

Justice Umar adjourned the case to February 17, 2016 for ruling and continuation of hearing pending the decision of the AGF.

Mr Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and two others allegedly mismanaged a 5.2 billion Naira Aviation Safe Tower contract.

Others on trial for the alleged offence are former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi; an Australian, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Limited.

The suspects were arraigned on November 19, 2009 by the EFCC on a 15-count charge of taking bribe and forging aviation contract documents.

Otedola appeals to court to hear his N250billion suit against Tambuwal and Farouk Lawan

Oil mogul, Mr Femi Otedola has asked an Abuja High Court to allow and sustain the N250 billion suit he filed against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and former chairman of the Fuel Subsidy probe committee, Representative Farouk Lawan.

Mr Otedola in the suit alleged that he suffered harassment, intimidation and some business losses from the defendants.

Counsel to the oil mogul, Mr Babajide Kokusan told the presiding judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke, that the law makers should not be allowed to hide under any legislative immunity to escape the action they committed outside their legislative powers.

Reacting to the lawmaker’s plea that suit action be dismissed because they cannot be sued on any action carried out on behalf of the house, Otedola’s counsel argued that the defendants were sued in their personal capacities for the intimidation he (Femi Otedola) suffered from phone calls before he parted with $620,000 out of $3million bribe demanded and collected by Mr Lawan.

He insisted that legislative immunity cannot be used to defend the allegation of request and receipt of bribe and asked the judge to make the two defendants defend themselves as allowed by law.

Mr Kokusan also objected to the prayer of Tambuwal and Farouk that the Federal High Court and not Abuja Court can adjudicate over the matter because the House of Representatives was an agency of the federal government.

His counsel argued that the case of Otedola and Zenon Oil Ltd was on the demand for bribe with the use of harassment and intimidation and not an attack against the fuel subsidy or the report of the subsidy committee.

He further adds that the issue of jurisdiction of a court in any matter could be determined by the nature of reliefs, facts and statement of claims and that since the suit did not challenge the revenue of the federal government or the administrative decision of the national assembly, an Abuja High Court has the power and jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Speaker of the House of Representative and Mr Lawan had through their counsels, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Mike Ahamba opposed the suit filed by Otedola.

They claimed that the two lawmakers enjoy absolute legislative immunity for words spoken on the floor of the house.

Justice Kekemeke will however rule on January 30 on whether to maintain or strike out the case.