Senate Has The Right To Summon Anyone – Mike Ozekhome

ozhekomeA Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, has stated that the Senate has the right to summon it’s members to order at anytime. 

“The Committee of the House or the House, can summon any person. it says any person, and it didn’t say some people.

“It didn’t say whether those elected or not elected. Any person; to bring papers, memos, come with evidence, and that if such a person is summoned to come and testify or to come and answer questions and he refuses to come, under Section 5, the Branch of the National Assembly can order the Police to arrest and bring such a person.”

He added that “the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives if satisfied that the person has entered into recognizance, they can release the person but if not satisfied, they can tell them to keep the person there.”

He made his position known while speaking on Channels Television’s Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

Mr Ozekhome’s view was however in contrast to that of his colleague, Mr Femi Falana, who believes that the Senate has no power to suspend a member even for a single day.

The lawyers made the comments while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. No legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” Mr Falana stressed.

Ozekhome Asks Court To Unfreeze His Account

Mike OzekhomeA senior lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to vacate the order freezing his account with the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB).

Mr Ozekhome’s application to set aside the freezing order would be heard on February 23.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka had on February 7, 2017 ordered a temporary forfeiture of 75 million naira found in the account.

The order followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prayed the court to freeze the senior lawyer’s account temporarily on grounds that the said sum was suspected to be proceeds of crime.

In his application on Thursday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria requested for an order discharging and/or vacating forthwith, the interim order made ex-parte, which directed an interim order of forfeiture to freeze or attach the money for 120 days.

He also sought for an order restraining the Federal Government and the EFCC from dealing in anyway and manner, as to the operation or the proprietary rights of the ownership of the account.

Mr Ozekhome claimed that the application for an order for interim forfeiture of his account was done in bad faith by the anti-graft agency, stating that it did not comply with the statutory and judicial authorities in obtaining an interim order.

He said the EFCC allegedly suppressed material facts in obtaining the order, maintaining that the action was unconstitutional.

He added that the same offended sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution, saying there was no legal justification for the EFCC’s action.

He explained that the 75 million naira was a part-payment of legal fees from Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.

On the issue of whether or not the funds in Governor Fayose’s account from which the said sum is posted to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers’ GTB account is suspected proceed of crime, the SAN noted that it is currently on appeal as filed and entered by the selfsame counsel to the EFFC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

He asked that the matter be heard urgently, as the continued freezing of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers’ account has rendered the chambers impecunious and unable to carry out its day-to-day activities.

Wrong Impression

The lawyer also said that the temporary freezing of his account has caused him untold embarrassment, public odium, obloquy and mental agony.

He alleged that the EFCC gave a very wide publicity to the said freezing or attachment in print, electronic and social media, thus giving the wrong impression that he has committed a criminal offence against the laws of the land.

On the material facts that EFCC purportedly suppressed, Ozekhome said the anti-graft agency did not disclose to Justice Anka, the fact that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti had unfrozen Mr Fayose’s accounts forthwith, thereby allowing the governor to operate them before he transferred 75 million naira to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers’ account.

He stated that as at the time Governor Fayose transferred 75 million naira to his chambers’ account, there was no court processes filed or served on the applicant, indicating that the EFCC was on appeal or asking the court to stay the execution of the order defreezing the governor’s account.

“Fayose, had himself withdrawn the sum of 5,000,000 naira in cash before transferring the sum of 75,000,000 naira to the account of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers,” the lawyer said.

Budget Padding Is From Executive, Not National Assembly – Ozekhome

Mike Ozekhome, Budget Padding, National AssemblyA constitutional lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome, believes that the padding of the 2016 budget originated from the executive arm of government and not the legislative.

The legal practitioner, who spoke on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, linked his opinion to the sacking of some officials at the budget office by the President.

“The real padding in this current budget was actually from the executive, not from the National Assembly.

“President Muhammadu Buhari had to sack some people in the budget office when he discovered through some ministers who literally denounced their appropriation figures before the National Assembly, saying (that) it was not my deed (what we call ‘Non Est factum’ in law),” he stated.

Mr Ozekhome expressed dismay that the sacked officials were yet to be arraigned before a court.

Smuggled Figures

On the other hand, he explained that padding would have occurred at the National Assembly if figures were smuggled in the budget, after the lawmakers had made a resolve.


“Padding can only occur in the National Assembly if figures are smuggled in, after the finance committees at the various appropriation committee (Finance Committee, Budget Committee and the National Planning Committee) have agreed.

“If after they have agreed on certain figures debated and approved by the House itself at a plenary session, someone manages again to smuggle in some figures, then that could be padding,” he said.

FG Files Fresh Application, Dasuki Denies Implicating Anyone

dasuki

The trial of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo‎ Dasuki has again been stalled following the filing of a fresh application by the federal government seeking to stop the execution of the bail granted to the accused person on November 3, 2015.

At the resumed hearing, lawyer to the federal government, Mr Oladipo Okpeseyitan said that he had just been briefed to handle the case through a fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation authorizing him to take over the prosecution of the case.

He also told the court that he has filed a new application seeking to stay the execution or further execution of the order of the court delivered on November 3, 2015.

He added that the ‎federal government was not in disobedience of the order of the court granting bail to the accused person.

Lawyer ‎to the accused person, Mr Ahmed Raji, however, objected to the hearing of the application saying it was not ripe for hearing.

He told the court that he had just been served with the motion in court, adding that he needed time to respond to the motion.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola subsequently adjourned the case till December 8.

Dasuki Denies Implicating Anyone

Meanwhile, the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has denied implicating anyone or group during interrogation on the allegation of $2billion arms purchase deal brought against him by the Federal Government.

Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate said that his client never made such statement or name anyone to EFCC. He wondered ‎where the authors got their information from.

“I was with Dasuki yesterday and wish to make a categorical statement that my client never made any statement of such nature or naming anybody or group in any statement.

“Quote me anywhere, Dasuki has not done anything like that. It is absolutely untrue. It is the figment of the imagination of the authors aimed at creating falsehood for reasons best known to them and Nigerians should disregard them.

“They are just out to scandalise the man, bring his image and character into disrepute so that his friends and well-wishers can run away from him. They want him deserted and that will fail,” Raji said.

 

 

EFCC Arrests Former Daar Communications Chairman, Raymond Dokpesi

dokpesiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it has arrested the former Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

He was picked up in Abuja at about noon on Tuesday and was accompanied to the office of the EFCC by his son Raymond Dokpesi Jnr., who is the current Chairman of Daar Communications.

The Head of Media in the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, told Channels Television that Chief Dokpesi was arrested in connection with money disbursed from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

He said that there was no explanation about what the money was meant for and it was pathetic that the office of the NSA was used as “a warehouse to dish out money to people”.

He added that very worrisome is that this hard-earned money is taken from the coffers of the country.

When contacted, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), lawyer to Dokpesi said that it is a return to authoritarian regime as only last week Daar Communications Holdings, not Dokpesi, was invited by the EFCC to explain alleged contracts to the company from the office of the former National Security Adviser and that tax payments and other documents should be supplied to EFCC.

He said that as far he knew, no contract was gotten from the office of the NSA but that he sent a lawyer from his chamber, Barrister Justine Omogbemeh to accompany Dokpesi to the EFCC office.

“I do not regard this as an arrest. If you are invited by the EFCC that is not the same thing as an arrest. We got this information through a mere phone call. There is no warrant of arrest and as a well-respected obedient nationalist, Chief Dokpesi decided to go and answer the invitation,” he said.

Tribunal Should Have Ordered Fresh Election In Taraba – Ozekhome

Tribunal Should Order Fresh Election In Taraba A Senior Advocate of Nigeria says the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal should have ordered a fresh election between Darius Ishaku and Aisha Alhassan.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Mike Ozekhome, said that “Section 140 Subsection 2 of the Electoral Act says that where a tribunal believes that a person was not qualified to be elected into the governorship office of a state or for massive irregularities, it shall not declare the person with the second highest number of votes to be returned to the position, but shall order a fresh election”.

He argued that the Taraba State Tribunal, having found out that Governor Ishaku was not qualified to have contested the election, should have conducted a fresh election, instead of nullifying the election and ordering that a Certificate of Return be given to Alhassan to be sworn in as Governor.

He said that the election tribunal committed a grave error in asking that the APC candidate be sworn in, expressing confidence that the “error” would be rectified by the Court of Appeal.

While giving his opinion on how the contestants are sponsored, Mr Ozekhome stressed that the Electoral Act 85 Subsection 1 says that a political party wanting to hold a congress, conference or convention, must give 21 days notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that they want to hold either a convention, conference or congress.

“By virtue of Section 85 Subsection 2, INEC may with or without prior notice to any political party, decide to attend its convention, conference or congress to observe what it is doing.

“While Section 87 subsection 1 of the Electoral Act provides that any political party wanting to feed the candidate for any election must hold primaries from which the candidate must emerge and the primaries must be conducted in a democratic way, Section 87 Subsection 9 of the Electoral Act says that any person who believes that the provision of the Electoral Act have not been complied with in terms of the election, selection or nomination of a candidate at a primary, shall approach the Federal High Court or the State High Court,” he added.

‘PDP Violated Principles of Democracy’

Meanwhile, another lawyer, Mr Phillip Okey-Igwe, disagreed with the Ozekhome’s condemnation of the tribunal ruling.

Mr Okey-Igwe, who was also on the programme, said that that the issue before the tribunal “was not strictly qualification”.

“The issue is whether the PDP as a political party validly nominated a candidate,” adding that based on past cases like that of former Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, “It is not the candidate or a person that is elected into an office, it is the political party.

“If that is the case, the issue before the court was not qualification and you could say that the ruling was correct because the issue now was whether PDP as a political party validly participated in the 2015 governorship election in Taraba State.”

Mr Okey-Igwe, believes that the PDP violated the principles of democracy and blamed the party for the outcome of the Taraba governorship election tribunal which nullified the election of Mr Darius Ishaku as Governor of Taraba State.