Absence Of Defence Counsel Stalls Gaidam’s Eligibility Case

Ibrahim-GaidamProceedings in the suit challenging the eligibility of Ibrahim Gaidam as Governor of Yobe State were stalled at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday.

The case was stalled following failure of counsels to the defense parties to appear in court.

Two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Yobe State, Ayuba Sabo and Ahmed Abubakar, challenged Gaidam’s eligibility to contest the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state having already served two terms.

Counsels to Governor Gaidam and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were absent in court with no formal letter written to the judge as provided by the rules, causing Justice Ahmed Mohammed to issue a “final warning” against any further delay on the part of the defendants in the case.

Gaidam served as former Deputy to late Governor Mamman Ali from May 29, 2007 until January, 2009 when he succeeded the late governor.

He was later sworn in as elected Governor on May 29, 2011.

The applicants are seeking, among other reliefs, a declaration that the Governor, having taken oath of office on two previous occasions, is no longer eligible to contest the 2015 governorship election based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

The Judge adjourned the case to November 3 for hearing and ordered that fresh hearing notices be served on the defense parties.

Subsidy Scam: Court Orders Freezing Of Asset Of Ali’s Son, Others

A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday granted an order for an interim forfeiture of assets belonging to an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo of Fargo Oil & Gas Ltd, who is standing trial for fraudulently collecting money meant for fuel subsidy.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) obtained the order from the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo through an ex parte application on Thursday.

Though the anti-graft agency did not specify the worth of all the assets it sought the court to freeze, it alleged that Mr Ogunbambo was being prosecuted for frauds totalling about N4.5 billion.

The affected assets, mostly bank accounts with a United Kingdom and five Nigerian banks, also includes a landed property at 2 Olamijuyin, Avenue Parkview Estate, Ikoyi Lagos.

The UK bank account bearing the name of his England-based company, Seatac Petroleum Ltd, was said to be having £1 million standing to its credit.

Five of the bank accounts bear the names Fargo Petroleum Gas Ltd, Arnage Oil & Gas Ltd and Seatac Petroleum.

Also, the account of one company, Nassaman Oil Service Ltd, belonging to Mamman Ali, son of former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali, was among the assets frozen at the instance of alleged fraud linked with Seun Ogunbambo.

The EFCC’s counsel, Francis Usani, moving the application for forfeiture on Thursday said, “the properties and bank accounts set out in the schedule hereto, properties of the persons currently standing trial for conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, obtaining the sums of over N4.5 billion by false pretence, forgery and uttering of a documents in Charge Nos ID/116C/2012, ID/133C/2012 and ID/122C/2012 all pending in this judicial division (Ikeja), be in the interim forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the determination of all the pending proceedings against him”.

Two of the charges are pending before Justice Onigbanjo, who granted the forfeiture order on Thursday.

In the other charge involving Mr Ogunbambo and his firm, Adeline Investment, pending before another judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, the defendant was alleged to have used forged cheques and false claims to defraud Stanbic IBTC Bank of about N430 million in 2010.

According to the other two charges involving him, Habila Theck and Fargo, the accused were said to have defrauded the Federal Government under the fuel subsidy scheme up to the tune of N976.7 million.

In the other case involving Ogunbambo, Mamman Ali, Christian Taylor as well as Nasaman Oil Services, they were accused of defrauding the FG of N4.5 billion under the subsidy scheme.

N4.46 Billion Subsidy Scam: Ali’s Trial Continues

The trial of Mamman Ali, son of the former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), who is standing trial for allegedly fraudulently claiming subsidy fund continued on Wednesday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

Mr Ali is standing trial alongside Christian Taylor, Seun Ogunbambo, and Nasaman Oil Services over a 13-count of fuel subsidy fraud amounting to about N4.46 billion.

At the resumed trial of the matter, the cross examination of Victor Chidok, the Head of the Lagos Zonal Office of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) continued from where it stopped last week.

The prosecution witness at the last sitting of the court on 6 February had explained the role of the agency in the importation of fuel into the country and the requirements of petroleum marketers.

In the cross examination which barely lasted 15 minutes, the witness admitted that he did not personally know or interact with some of the defendants but knew about the transactions leading to the charges against them when the EFCC wrote to demand documents from his office.

After the brief proceedings and the EFCC admitting that it had no other witness in court, presiding justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo adjourned till 21 February for continuation of trial.

Fuel subsidy scam: Court fails to sit for Mamman Ali’s trial

The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday failed to sit on the scheduled re-arraignment of Mamman Ali, son of former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, along with three others for alleged fuel subsidy fraud.

No reason was given for the failure of the court to sit but the court registrars announced a new date of Monday the 26th of November 2012 for the re-arraignment.

Present in court were the duo of Mamman Ali and Christian Taylor, who had initially been arraigned along with their company Nasaman Oil on the 26th of July for fuel subsidy fraud totaling about 2.23bn.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has however said that following further investigations, the defendants would be re-arraigned on an amended charge along with some other persons whose names were not originally on the charge.