Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

Justice Ademola Withdraws From Dasuki’s Trial

DasukiThe trial judge in the case of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, has withdrawn from the case in the wake of allegations that he obtained bribe from Dasuki who is standing trial before his court.

Justice Ademola was among the seven judges detained briefly about a week ago after the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted searches and said that it discovered hundreds of thousands in dollars in addition to documents linking them to very expensive real estates.

The DSS which conducted what it called “sting operations” accused the judges of exhibiting lifestyles which their income could not justify.

Ademola was scheduled to deliver a ruling on the DSS’s request to allow witnesses to wear masks in the case against Dasuki when the trial judge announced his intention to hands off the case.

Before making his decision known, Justice Ademola interviewed Colonel Sambo Dasuki asking him to tell the whole world if he had known him prior to the case and if he had given him any money directly or through his lawyers to which the former NSA replied in the negative.

He thereafter went ahead to announce that he was transferring the file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court “for a reassignment to another judge having regards to the allegations against this court by the complainant, that is the DSS.”

Justice Ademola said that his decision to return the file to the Chief Justice for “further directive” is in line with the principles of fair hearing to parties before the court.”

Justice Ademola, at the time of his arrest, was the trial judge in the case against Biafra’s agitator, Nnamdi Kanu who is standing trial for treasonable felony and Colonel Dasuki who is being tried for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.

The two cases are being prosecuted by the DSS.

NSA Seeks Inter-agency Synergy For Effective Counter-Terrorism

NSA On Counter-Terrorism
Navy Commodore Yaminu Musa (rtd)

The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has appealed to agencies involved in the counter-terrorism efforts of the Federal Government to stop all inter-agency rivalry.

The NSA said the competition limits the successes of government’s efforts to stamp out terrorism.

The NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), who was represented by Navy Commodore Yaminu Musa (rtd), made the appeal in Abuja at a meeting with Directors and Heads of parastatals involved in the counter terrorism crusade.

Mr Musa, who is the Coordinator, National Counter-Terrorism Strategy, noted that government agencies driving the anti-terror crusade must be proactive and united against the terrorists.

The Federal Government had launched a counter terrorism strategy in 2014, with much emphasis on the use of force.

Two years after, the strategy was reviewed to accommodate responses to humanitarian needs of liberated areas in Nigeria’s Northeast.

FG Accuses Fertilizer Companies Of Economic Sabotage

Babagana-MungunuThe federal government has threatened to withdraw the licenses of two local fertilizer manufacturing companies over alleged economic sabotage.

This comes as the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, has confirmed the arrest of a store manager and five other employees of an explosives distribution company alleged to be suppliers of explosives to the Niger Delta militants.

He was speaking at a meeting with manufacturers of fertilizer in Abuja and confirmed the use of commercial explosives in the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

“This office has conducted investigations into the incessant bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and discovered that commercial explosives and accessories were used for these attacks.

“Based on these facts, I have directed our explosives experts based in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to conduct further investigations and a detailed audit of the records of explosives, magazines and quarries in that region,” he said.

The investigations, according to Monguno, revealed that over 9,000kg of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of electrical detonators have been used by the militants.

Regarding the role of the fertilizer manufacturing companies, the NSA said, “The Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with total dismay and disappointment some unpatriotic acts and abuse of the goodwill of the federal government of Nigeria.

“Reports of the activities of these two companies have indicated that about 71% of the 2.05 million metric tonnes cumulative annual production is being exported to the detriment of our national economy.

“This has resulted in a spike in the price of the urea-based fertilizers in Nigeria with obvious implications on food security in the country.”

The incessant bombings by the Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram militants have caused both economic losses and loses of human lives in the country.

This, over time, has drawn concerns from the local and international community, looking for ways of ending the attacks.

The warning from the National Security Adviser was clear; the Nigerian government will not compromise in the provision of adequate security for its people.

Only NSA Can Explain Contract To Jonathan’s Cousin – Witness

dasuki, NSA, Jonathan's CousinThe principal witness in the ongoing trial of Barrister Azibaola Robert, cousin to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Ibrahim Mahe, has told a Federal High Court that only the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki can explain why Oneplus Holdings Limited got a $40 million pipeline security contract.

Mahe, who recently retired as permanent secretary, special services operations in the NSA’s office told the court that he paid Oneplus $40 million out of the $600 million special security fund sourced from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Under cross-examination by counsel to Roberts, Chris Uche, Mahe, who admitted serving only 11 months in the NSA’s office, also admitted that some other firms got security contracts in excess of $40 million approved for Oneplus.

The retired permanent secretary, however, failed to tell the court ‎presided by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba the names of the companies that benefited from the remaining $560 million of the special security fund.

The retired permanent secretary said that he paid Oneplus based on the conviction that the firm’s security contract met due process requirements, having been endorsed by nine top officials of the NSA’s office.

Trial judge, Justice Dimgba has adjourned the case till October 6, 7 and 19 for continuation of trial.

Dasuki Loses Bid To Stop His Trial

DasukiFormer National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) has lost his bid to stop his trial.

Justice Ademola Adebiyi, in his ruling, held that the former NSA did not follow proper process in filing a contempt charge against the federal government.

According to him, it is out of place for Colonel Dasuki to ask that the charges brought against him be dropped for reasons not weighty.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki, had on March 3, also asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his trial. He also asked the court to set aside the criminal charges of unlawful possession of fire arms brought against him by the Federal Government.

Dasuki told the court that the Federal Government no longer had moral and legal rights to continue his trial, having disobeyed the order of bail granted him since Nov 3, 2015.

The Court refused his application as the trail judge, Justice Peter Affem, held that contrary to the application by Colonel Dasuki, it was the Department of State Services (DSS), which was not a party in the suit that arrested Colonel Dasuki and not the EFCC.

He agreed with the anti-graft agency that it had not flouted any part of the orders releasing the former National Security Adviser (NSA) on bail.

Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court on April 6, fixed May 3 for the trial of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, facing charges of diverting funds meant for the purchase of arms for soldiers fighting insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf fixed the date and directed that the prosecution allow full access to lawyers to Colonel Dasuki during business hours of Monday to Friday to enable them take instructions and prepare defence for their client.

Pipeline Contract: Court Orders EFCC To Release Jonathan’s Cousin

EFCCAn Abuja High Court has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release the cousin of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Azibaola Robert.

The anti-graft commission had on March 23 arrested Robert for alleged diversion of 40 million dollars through One-Plus Holdings, a sister company of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Company Limited, meant for securing oil pipelines.

The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).

Mr Robert, through his lawyer, Chris Uche filed a lawsuit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

In the application dated April 5, Uche asked the court to make “an order granting his client an interim bail pending his arraignment before a court of law by the respondent, EFCC or pending the determination of the substantive motion in this suit.

Ruling on the application, Justice Goodluck Olasunbor held that Robert’s detention by the EFCC for over two weeks was unconstitutional.

The judge said the applicant had disclosed sufficient evidence before the court to warrant his release from detention.

NIMASA Fraud: Court Admits More Exhibits Against Akpobolokemi, Others

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has admitted more exhibits against a former Director- General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented one of the three witnesses he earlier brought before the court.

The witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director in NIMASA disclosed to the court, how the sum of 795,200,000 Naira was paid into the International Shipping and Port Safety (ISPS), account and how the same amount was disbursed.

The witness told the court that approval for the disbursement of the money came from the office of Mr Akpobolokemi.

The document conveying the presidential approval through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was identified by the witness and same was admitted as exhibit P22.

On the document, Mrs Ogunsanya identified the endorsement of the first accused person, Akpobolokemi.

Also tendered through the witness, are letters from NIMASA to the Accountant General of Federation and approval from the Accountant General’s office.

The documents were eventually admitted as exhibits P24 and P25 respectively.

The witness also identified the third accused person, Ekene Nwakuche as the first beneficiary in the disbursement of the 795,200,000 Naira.

She told the court that between September 16, 2014 and November 6, 2014, Nwakuche received 3,000,000 Naira each, on eight occasions, from the ISPS account totalling 28,000,000 Naira.

Other beneficiaries are Avant Guard Securities, 94,000,000 Naira; Extreme Vertex Limited, 318,000,000 Naira ; Suco Global, 15,000,000 Naira; O2 Services Limited, 21,200,000 Naira and 16,000,000 Naira; and Aroward Consulting, 70,000,000 Naira.

The witness said that there was a balance of 198, 635 Naira (left in the account).

While explaining the procedure for receiving and disbursing money in NIMASA, Mrs Ogunsanya said that a request would be made to the presidency through the NSA’s office and when approved, the DG would ask the Executive Director to implement.

”From the executive director’s office, an internal memo was raised and directed to the Director, Financial Services Department where payment instructions would be issued.”

The witness further disclosed that on March 20, 2014, the sum of 447, 000,000 Naira was paid into the ISPS account and same was disbursed following the same procedure, with a slight change in the beneficiaries.

In this instance, new beneficiaries were included. They are: Green Lemon Limited and Seabulk.

Mr Oyedepo asked the witness about the procedure for the award of contracts in NIMASA and she said the agency had different threshold in terms of contracts award, as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

She said that the DG had an approval limit of 5,000,000 Naira. For contracts that exceeded 5,000,000 Naira to anything below 50,000,000 Naira, which she also said fell  into the threshold of parastatal’s tenders board.

Contracts that are between 50,000,000 Naira to below 100,000,000 Naira, falls under the threshold of ministerial tenders board and any contract above 100,000,000 Naira falls within the presidential or Federal Executive Council’s threshold.

The 318,000,000 Naira payment to Extreme Vertex Limited was sighted as example of violation of BPP’s stipulated threshold by the former leadership of NIMASA.

Mrs Ogunsanya said that though, the normal procedure for awarding contract was always followed, she never met or saw any representative from any of the companies that were alleged to have been awarded the purported contracts.

During cross examination, the witness admitted that she was one of the signatories to the ISPS account.

But when she was asked whether she was aware of the 2013/14 National Assembly’s budgetary appropriation for the sum of 447,000,000 Naira, Mrs Ogunsanya said that she had to look at the budget to be able to answer the question.

Counsel to Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, prayed the court for an adjournment in order to effectively cross examine the witness.

Justice Buba adjourned the matter to Wednesday, March 2, 2016 for continuation of trial.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial, alongside five others, on a 13- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Amechee Juan; Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Court Orders FG To Produce Dasuki

dasukiA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to produce the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki in court on February 16 and 17, 2016  for trial.

Justice Ademola Adeniyi, in his order, said the court has not excused the former National Security Adviser from being present in court to face the criminal charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Counsel to the Federal Government, Oladipo Okpeseyi withdrew an application earlier filed by the government seeking to revoke the bail granted to Col. Dasuki.

Mr Okpeseyi, however, filed an application seeking protection of witnesses against the former NSA.

Lawyer to Col. Dasuki also announced plans to file an application seeking to discharge his client due to the inability of the prosecution to commence trial.

Lawyer Confirms Dasuki’s Re-Arrest  

dasukiA Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer to the embattled former National Security Adviser, Mr Ahmed Raji, has confirmed the re-arrest of his client, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) shortly after he was released on bail from Kuje prisons.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja, Mr Raji said that no reason was given by the security agents for the re-arrest of Colonel Dasuki who was granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja high court.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki is currently standing trial before different courts in Abuja over alleged criminal diversion of 2.1 billion dollars meant for the purchase of arms.

The DSS took custody of  Dasuki shortly after perfecting the third bail granted him by Justice Peter Affem after two other courts had done same.

The former NSA had been granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja High Court each in the sum of 250 million naira.

Desperation For Reelection Caused Latest Looting – Prof Sagay

LootingNigerians could be in for more surprises in the New Year as more high profile personalities might face trial in 2016.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itsey Sagay, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, said that the last set of looting of the nation’s wealth was in desperation to win elections at all cost.

“What I saw from all I have put together is that this last set of looting arose out of determination for reelection. Money was being distributed recklessly and thoughtlessly in order to get back to power at any cost.

“The evidence is still hot, the witnesses are present. The amounts are huge and unprecedented; amounts that have crippled the government from functioning effectively.

“The only thing you can do is to go after those first and there is much. I can tell you that the corruption is at every level; from these prominent politicians to the lowliest civil servants and even private sector.

“But the ones in the public sector, over which these high profile politicians are involved, I suspect, (would make up) probably over 90% in terms of assets that have been stolen.

“Those are the things that have to be dealt with first because they are immediate. So it is not discriminatory, it just happened that the people in government are doing these things. We are all living witnesses of what happened in the NSA’s office.

“You cannot overlook those things and say ‘oh they may suspect me of being selective’. If you leave it then you have left the substance,” he said.

Professor Sagay gave the assurance that the present government remains committed to fighting corruption at all levels but acknowledged the need for caution.

“My personal view, not the committee’s view and certainly not the government’s view, is that the position of the President is a sensitive one. If somebody has been a president before he should be very careful in thinking of any physical thing like incarceration and so on.”

He added, “Efficient investigation, effective prosecution, speedy adjudication and effective sanctions. Those are the four policies we are working on.

“You’re going to see slowness at the beginning but the results, when they begin to come, will make a great impact – a decisive departure from the past.”

Arms Deal: Bafarawa Denies Involvement 

BafarawaThe former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, has denied involvement in the 2.1 billion dollar arms deal scandal, saying he did not receive any money from the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd)

A statement issued in Abuja by one of his aides, a former Special Adviser on Youths and Students Matters, during his term as Governor of Sokoto State, Mr Akibu Dalhatu, maintains that the former Governor had no deal with the former National Security Adviser.

Mr Dalhatu, who in the statement said he had visited Bafarawa at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), claimed that his boss was not arrested at home or anywhere else as has been reported in a section of the media.

The statement added that the former governor went to the EFCC to honour an invitation made to him by the agency while he was abroad.

He had informed them through a letter by his lawyers that he was abroad and would honour their invitation upon his return, which he did.