Saraki’s Trial Resumes At Code Of Conduct Tribunal

Saraki, trial, Code of conduct tribunalThe trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has resumed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

This comes after more than five months and following the dismissal of his appeal by the Appeal Court, challenging his trial by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

At the resumed trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe told the tribunal that the case was adjourned for conclusion of trial but this was countered by the defence lead counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi who said that the case was for continuation of trial instead.

The key witness Mr Michael Wetkas, also maintained his stance to continue with his evidence. He was cross examined on counts two, three and four on the mode of payment of property purchased by the Senate President in 2006.

The defence counsel in charge of the cross examination for the day, Mr Paul Usoro reminded the tribunal that the cross examination was suspended on counts 8 and 9 which concerns the properties in Abuja.

Under cross examination by counsel to the Senate President, Mr Paul Usoro, the chief prosecution witness read out charge number two which alleged that the Senate President declared that he purchased his property in Ikoyi, Lagos state from proceeds of food commodities, when he purchased it with loans from a commercial bank.

He was then asked to read the asset declaration form of the Senate President for the year 2007 and Mr Wetkas agreed that the form indicated that the properties were bought with a loan from the bank.

He was, however, quick to add that four years after in 2011 the same properties were declared to have been acquired from proceeds from the commodity business of the defendant.

The witness was then asked to read the bank statement of the defendant and he read that the loan obtained to purchase the properties in dispute has been liquidated prior to 2011 declaration in five trenches between May 2007 and May 2008.

He insisted that the manner in which the loan was repaid contravened the money laundering act.

But when counsel to the Senate President asked if the offense was that of money laundering and that the tribunal should not be the court to try Dr Saraki, the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs, raised an objection, arguing that earlier during investigation, it was proven by some people that the money used to repay the loan was given to them by the Senate President in the Kwara government house.

While the defence counsel says it has made significant progress in debunking the testimonies of the prosecution witness, the prosecutor accused the defence of wasting time.

The defence says it will continue with the cross examination at the next adjourned date.

Badeh’s Trial Adjourned Until March 16

Alex BadehTrial of Nigeria’s former Defence Chief, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has been adjourned till March 16.

The adjournment was made to enable the defence study the additional proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the counsel to Air Chief Marshal Badeh, Mr Akinjide Olujimi, informed the court that he had just been hired by the accused person and would need time to be properly briefed before he could defend his client.

He also told the court that the prosecution just served him additional proof of evidence, which he needed to also study in the interest of justice and fairness before trial could commence.

The former Defence chief’s counsel had also filed a bail application, but the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, urged the court to turn down the application on the ground that it was an attempt to scuttle the trial.

After consideration, the trail judge, Justice Okon Abang, turned down the bail application, on two other grounds.

He, however, said that there was merit in the request of the defence to study the additional proof of evidence to ensure that the law was fair to all sides in the matter.

Justice Abang adjourned the case to enable the defence study the additional proof of evidence.

Air Marshall Badeh is standing trial for alleged use of funds meant for the Nigeria Air Force to purchase choice property in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, he illegally used Six million Naira to renovate his son’s house, which he purchased for 260 million Naira in Abuja between January and December 2013.

The former Defence Chief is also alleged to have used 876 million Naira belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to build a shopping mall in Abuja.

Court Refuses Evidence Against Metuh

MetuhAn FCT High Court has refused the evidence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Olisa Metuh over alleged destruction of statements.

Justice Ishaq Bello ruled that the evidence, which is a pocket notebook entry of an EFCC investigator, could only be tendered and admitted through a certified through copy.

Earlier, EFCC counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, had sought to tender the pocket book entry of Sa’ad Junaid, the operative who investigated the case, but defence counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) requested the prosecution to produce the certified true copy of the notebook as provided in the Evidence Act, which he could not produce.

The trial judge then declined to admit the pocket notebook as evidence.

The EFCC had on January 21, 2016 arraigned Metuh on two-count charges of attempting to destroy evidence to be used for his trial in the allegation of receiving 400 million Naira from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel  Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) for which he has already been arraigned in another court.

The anti-graft commission’s charge stated that Metuh “tore into pieces statement made under caution” contrary to Section 326 of the penal code and punishable under section 327 of the same code.

The case has been adjourned to March 16 for continuation of hearing.

Court Grants Metuh Leave To File ‘No Case Submission’

Olisa-Metuh-trialA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted leave to Mr Olisa Metuh, to file a ‘no case submission’ in the charges of money laundering and diversion of public funds filed against him by an anti-graft agency. 

Opening his defence, Mr Metuh, who is the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), told the court that he had filed an application, but the prosecutor, Mr Sylvester Tahir, interjected by telling the court that the prosecution had an amended charge to replace the initial charge for which he had entered a not-guilty plea.

With no objection from the defence counsel, Oyeachi Ikpeazu, the charges were again read to Mr Metuh who entered a not-guilty plea.

The PDP Spokesman consequently prayed the court to allow him make a ‘no case submission’ through a written address, despite the protest of the prosecution as to the mode of making his submission.

In his ruling, Justice Obong Abang pointed out that an accused person was at liberty to take any decision that he considered proper for his own defence.

He stated that there was no law preventing Mr Metuh from doing so through a written address.

Justice Abang said that the PDP spokesman was permitted to file his address as soon as the case was adjourned.

He added that while the prosecution was to reply in the next three days, and should Metuh need to respond to the prosecutor’s address, he was to do so within 24 hours.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had brought an amendment charge against Mr Metuh, one week after closing its case.

According to the Prosecuting Counsel, the new charges would have no material effect on the earlier charges brought against PDP’s spokesman.

EFCC Amends Charges Against Olisa Metuh

Olisa-Metuh-trialThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has brought an amendment charge against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, one week after closing its case.

According to the Prosecuting Counsel, Mister Sylvester Tahir, the new charges will have no material effect on the earlier charges brought against Mr Metuh.

He says it’s an opportunity to effectively prosecute the case and asked the court to compel him to take his plea afresh.

Counsel to Mr. Metuh, Onyechi Ikpeazu did not object to the new charges and when it was time to take his plea, Mr. Metuh pleaded not guilty and also entered a no case submission.

The case has been adjourned to the February 25, 2016 to allow Mr. Metuh defend his no case submission through a written address which will be adopted on that day.

Mr Metuh was on January 28, 2016  released on bail.

Mr Metuh walked out of Kuje Prisons on Thursday afternoon after meeting the bail conditions given to him by the court.

A Federal High Court had on Wednesday, varied the bail conditions given to Mr Olisa Metuh.

Justice Okon Abang, signed his release warrant, upon being satisfied with the verification of the details of the two sureties provided by the accused and the title documents of the property owned by the sureties.

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode’s Money Laundering Case To July 1

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode's Money Laundering Case To July 1A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi in Lagos State, south-west Nigeria, has adjourned  to July 1, the 2.1 million Naira money laundering suit against former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia had fixed Thursday for the judgement after the adoption of final written addresses and arguments by the defence and prosecution counsel.

She cited the absence of Prosecuting Counsel, Festus Keyamo, as reason for not delivering the judgement.

The trial in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, with an initial charge of laundering about 230 million Naira while Mr Fani-Kayode was a Federal Minister.

The charge was later amended and the amount reduced to 100 million Naira and finally 2.1 million Naira, with the judge dismissing 38 out of the 40 counts leveled by the EFCC against Mr Fani-Kayode.

Fani-Kayode was the Director of Media and Publicity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation during the 2015 elections.