Australian PM Asks US To End Assange’s Proceeding

File photo of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange / AFP

 

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Wednesday he had personally called on US officials to end legal proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, declaring: “Enough is enough.”

Assange, an Australian citizen, has been held in a London prison since 2019 pending a US extradition request to face trial for divulging US military secrets in 2010 about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

READ ALSO: US Militia Leader Guilty Of Sedition In Capitol Assault

“I some time ago made my point that enough is enough. It is time for this matter to be brought to a conclusion,” Albanese told parliament.

“I have raised this personally with representatives of the United  States government. My position is clear.”

The Australian leader said he did not have sympathy for many of the 51-year-old’s actions.

But he asked: “What is the point of this continuing, this legal action, which could be caught up now for many years into the future?”

Assange has been held in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison since 2019, after serving time for skipping bail in a previous case and spending years holed up in Ecuador’s embassy.

He could face decades in jail if found guilty in the United States.

Albanese compared Assange’s treatment to that of Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year jail sentence for stealing secret documents was commuted by then-president Barack Obama in 2017.

Manning “is now able to able to participate freely in US society,” Albanese said.

AFP

Neymar Trial Wraps Up In Spain After Prosecutors Drop Charges

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
File photo of Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar.            FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Brazilian superstar, Neymar’s trial in Spain over his transfer to Barcelona in 2013 is expected to wrap up Monday after Spanish prosecutors last week dropped their fraud charges against the player.

The 30-year-old and the eight other defendants — including his parents who manage his affairs and two former Barca presidents — will be allowed to make closing arguments to the Barcelona court.

Neymar, who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain who on Wednesday face Juventus in the Champions League, and his parents have been granted permission by the court to testify via videoconference.

Spanish prosecutors had been seeking a two-year prison term and a fine of 10 million euros ($9.9 million) for Neymar, a key member of the Brazil team that will be heading to the World Cup in Qatar in November.

But in a surprise move, the state prosecutor withdrew all criminal charges against Neymar and the rest of the accused, arguing there was not enough evidence presented in court that a crime had been committed.

The trial is continuing however because Brazilian investment company DIS, which jointly brought the case, has maintained its accusation that the parties committed fraud and corruption.

The case centres on Neymar’s high-profile transfer from Santos, the Brazilian club where he rose to global prominence, to Barcelona nearly a decade ago.

DIS, owned by the founders of a supermarket chain, had a 40 percent stake in Neymar’s sporting rights at the time of his move to Europe.

In a 2015 complaint filed by DIS in Spain, the firm claims that Neymar, Barcelona and the Brazilian club colluded to mask the true cost of his transfer thereby defrauding it of its legitimate financial interests.

Barca said the transfer was valued at 57.1 million euros, with 40 million euros paid to a company called N&N which manages Neymar’s affairs and 17.1 million to Santos, of which 6.8 million was given to DIS.

Spanish prosecutors have said they believe the actual value was at least 83 million euros.

DIS is seeking to recover 35 million euros.

Neymar told the court on the second day of his trial on October 18 that he did not remember if he took part in the negotiations over his transfer to Barca, and that he only signed documents presented to him by his father.

“My father has always been in charge,” he said in court. “I sign what he tells me to.”

All of the other defendants, including former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, also deny any wrongdoing.

State prosecutor Luis Garcia suggested that the proper forum for the claims made by DIS was a civil court, which deals with disputes between people or organisations.

“DIS has the right to feel that Neymar’s transfer should have given greater profit, but I think it has picked the wrong jurisdiction,” he told the court on Friday when he announced he was dropping charges.

The court is expected to give its ruling in several weeks.

AFP

Alleged Money Laundering: Fani-Kayode’s Trial Resumes With Testimony Of EFCC’s Investigating Officer

A photo combination showing Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and the EFCC logo.

 

An Investigating Officer, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mr. Shehu Shuaibu has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the sum of N4.6 billion allegedly transferred into a joint trust account was used to finance the presidential campaign of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The witness further disclosed that the money was paid from the State House to the account of the Ministry of External Affairs before it was transferred into the Joint Trust account.

The IPO disclosed this information while testifying before Justice Daniel Osiagor in the trial of former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode, and two others over alleged money laundering and other fraud-related offences.

Under cross-examination, by counsel to the former finance minister, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), the witness stated that his team from the Special Task Force of the EFCC did not invite Jonathan throughout their investigations.

READ ALSO: NAF Probes ‘Accidental Air Strikes On Civilians’

The witness admitted that the first Defendant, Nenadi Usman, was the Director of Finance, of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation, while the second Defendant, Fani-Kayode, was the Director, of Media and Publicity of the organisation.

Asked why he did not invite Jonathan to confirm or deny if the money paid into the Joint Trust account was expended for his campaign or not, he said, “No, we did not invite him, since the President was not the one that expended the money.”

When asked why those that transferred money into the Joint Trust account were arrested and prosecuted, he said, “To the best of my knowledge, I do not know whether those that transferred money into the Joint Trust Account were charged to court or not. I am not a lawyer, and would not know why they have not been charged before the court.”

He however admitted that the money was paid by the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Nebolisa Emodi, who was invited for Interrogation by his team but not charged to court.

When asked to name those who stole the money for which the defendants are standing trial, the witness said he did not investigate the defendants for stealing, and so he would not know if they stole the money or not.

When the witness was confronted with a Certified True Copy of the Proceedings before Justice Rilwanu Aikawa, who was handling the case before he was transferred out of Lagos, where the witness had earlier stated that the money was stolen, he backtracked.

“I did not investigate any stolen money, and I never used the word stolen, what I said was that the money was fraudulently transferred,” the witness added.

Justice Osiagor thereafter adjourned the matter till tomorrow, Friday for the continuation of trial.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma; and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

The defendants are facing 17 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.

Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly; retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.

They had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail by the court.

The trial began in 2017 with the defendants being arraigned and re-arraigned before Justices Muslim Hassan and Rilwan Aikawa.

Following the transfer of the last trial judge, Justice Aikawa out of the Lagos division of the court, the case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.9billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

Neymar Trial Opens In Barcelona Ahead Of World Cup

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar gestures as he leaves after attending the opening audience at the courthouse in Barcelona on October 17, 2022, on the first day of his trial.

 

With the World Cup barely a month away, Brazilian superstar Neymar goes on trial in Spain Monday over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona nearly a decade ago.

The 30-year-old, wearing sunglasses and a dark suit, waved to the press as he arrived with his parents at the Provincial Court of Barcelona at around 9:45 am.

The high-profile trial is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over his 2013 transfer from the Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona.

Neymar then joined Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain in a world record 222 million euro ($214 million) transfer in 2017.

He is one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs.

All three are facing charges of business corruption.

Investigators began probing the transfer after a 2015 complaint filed by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40 percent of the player’s sporting rights when he was at Santos.

Barcelona said the transfer cost 57.1 million euros, but prosecutors believe it was at least 83 million euros.

The club said it paid 40 million euros to N&N and 17.1 million to Santos, of which 6.8 million was given to DIS.

But DIS alleges that Neymar, Barcelona and the Brazilian club colluded to mask the true cost of the deal.

Among the other defendants are two former Barca presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and ex-Santos boss Odilio Rodrigues Filho.

‘Complicity to defraud’

Neymar, who came to Barcelona just hours scoring the winning goal against Marseille in a Ligue 1 match on Sunday, will testify on either October 21 or October 28, but it is not known if he will have to be physically present. The trial is due to end on October 31.

If convicted, he could face two years in jail and a 10-million-euro ($9.7 million) fine.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will take the stand on Tuesday by videoconference to give his opinion of how a 2011 secret pre-contract deal between Barca and Neymar influenced the market.

“Neymar Junior, with the complicity of his parents and FC Barcelona and its directors at the time, and Santos FC at a later stage, defrauded DIS of its legitimate financial interests,” said DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser on Thursday.

DIS is seeking to recover 35 million euros.

Set for World Cup

Neymar’s lawyers insist their client is innocent, saying the 40 million euros was a “legal signing bonus which is normal in the football transfer market”.

They have said Spanish authorities lack jurisdiction to hear the case since the transfer involved Brazilian nationals in Brazil.

Neymar’s abrupt departure for PSG five years ago sparked a string of legal disputes, with Barcelona withholding its contract extension bonus and suing the player for breach of contract, as Neymar countersued.

Both sides eventually reached an ‘amicable’ out-of-court settlement in 2021.

The footballer is having one of his best seasons since he joined PSG.

His goal against Marseille was his ninth league goal of the season and he has seven assists in 11 Ligue 1 matches.

But his relations with France international superstar Kylian Mbappe appear to be strained, with the 23-year-old reportedly demanding PSG sell the Brazilian.

Neymar is also expected to play a key role for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar, as the South American giants seek to win the trophy for the first time since 2002, and the sixth in total.

He will lead the Selecao into their Group G opener against Serbia on November 24.

Guinean Ex-Dictator Jailed On Eve Of 2009 Massacre Trial

In this file picture taken on October 1, 2009, Guinea’s military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara speaks at his office at the Alpha Yaya Diallo camp in Conakry. AFP

 

Former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and several co-defendants were sent to prison Tuesday, a day before their trial opens for the 2009 stadium massacre, their lawyers said.

The prosecutor had “our six clients taken to the central house (prison) where they will apparently be held until the end of the (trial)”, Salifou Beavogui, one of the lawyers, told journalists outside the court.

“Very unfortunately, the trial is beginning with the violation of the defendants’ rights,” he said.

An AFP correspondent saw a minibus — surrounded by several pick-up trucks — speed away from the brand-new court built especially for the trial.

Captain Camara and 10 other former military and government officials are due to appear in court Wednesday at 10:00 am (local and GMT).

A handful of defendants have already been detained for years. Those who were still free were detained Tuesday after being summoned at around midday.

On September 28, 2009, and in the days that followed, security forces loyal to the then-junta leader slaughtered more than 150 people and raped at least 109 women at a political rally in a Conakry stadium, according to a report by a UN-mandated international commission.

The real figures are likely higher.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters had gathered in the stadium to peacefully demonstrate against a possible election bid by Camara, who had come to power in a December 2008 coup before being sworn in as president.

Numerous testimonies report how the presidential guard’s Red Berets, police officers, and militiamen entered the stadium around noon, cordoned off the exits, and opened fire indiscriminately on a crowd that had previously been festive.

READ ALSO: Heavy Floods Ravage West Africa Farmlands

Waiting for a Trial

The killers attacked unarmed civilians with knives, machetes, and bayonets, leaving the stands, corridors, and grass strewn with the dead and dying.

They sexually assaulted and then killed many women. Others were trampled to death in the panic.

International investigators found the abuses could qualify as crimes against humanity, noting the brutality went on for several days against sequestered women and male detainees who were tortured.

On the eve of Wednesday’s trial, Amnesty International released a report calling for better protection for rape victims in Guinea and the “urgent” adoption of a comprehensive law on gender-based violence.

Camara, who had been living in exile in Burkina Faso, returned to Conakry on Saturday night to stand trial.

Relatives say he intends to “clear his name”.

The international commission has accused him of “personal criminal responsibility and command responsibility”.

Despite recurring commitments under former president Alpha Conde’s regime, victims and relatives have been waiting for the trial for 13 years.

Human rights defenders have also been pushing for justice, as well as the International Criminal Court.

Delays by those in power and the impunity for security forces that had become an “institution”, according to the commission, long cast doubt on the chances of a trial.

Then the head of the current military junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who came to power in a putsch in 2021 after 11 years of civilian rule, in July demanded the trial be held before the next anniversary date.

Victims’ groups hope the opening will not just be a show before the trial is adjourned.

AFP

Ex-Man United Star Giggs Goes On Trial For Assault

Former Manchester United star and Wales manager Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on August 8, 2022 at the start of his trial for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs stands trial Monday on charges of attacking and coercively controlling his ex-girlfriend, in a case that has upended his managerial career.

The 48-year-old, who until recently served as coach of the Wales national team, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum jail term of five years.

The jury trial at a crown court in Manchester was set to open at 10:30 am (0930 GMT), presided over by judge Hilary Manley. It is expected to last 10 days.

READ ALSO: Amusan Sets New Record, Wins Gold At Commonwealth Games

Giggs is charged with assaulting his former girlfriend, PR executive Kate Greville, causing her actual bodily harm on November 1, 2020, when police were called to his home in the Manchester area.

The Welshman is further charged with common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, on the same day.

He also faces a charge of controlling and coercive behaviour towards Kate Greville throughout their relationship, which began in 2017 and ended with the alleged assault.

The charge specifies that his behaviour towards Greville, 36, included the use of “isolation, belittling, humiliation, harassment, degradation and abuse”.

Giggs was arrested by police at his home in November 2020 and released on bail.

He has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty at an initial court appearance in April last year.

His trial was due to be heard in January but it was delayed due to a backlog of court cases caused by the Covid pandemic.

First of two trials

Giggs’s lawyer, Chris Daw, has acted for high-profile sports figures including former England and Chelsea football captain John Terry, who was found not guilty of racially abusing fellow player Anton Ferdinand in 2012.

Giggs resigned as the Wales manager in June, after being on leave since his arrest.

He said he did not want “continued interest around this case” to affect the team as it prepares for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

He remains on conditional bail, and has said he looks forward to “clearing my name”.

A dazzling teenage talent, Giggs ended his career at Old Trafford as the most-decorated player in English football history.

As a player, Giggs made a club-record 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.

He then began his coaching career at Old Trafford, taking temporary charge at the end of the 2013/14 season after David Moyes was sacked before working as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two years.

Giggs was appointed Wales boss in January 2018 and helped them secure qualification for Euro 2020, just their second major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.

His trial opens shortly before another court case involving a star footballer, Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy.

The Frenchman is set to go on trial on Wednesday in Chester, northwest England, accused of rape and assault in a case involving seven women.

Mendy, who has been suspended by City, denies the allegations.

AFP

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Two Others To Appear In Court Today

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, will appear before the Central Criminal Court, the United Kingdom in continuation of his organ harvesting trial.

Also to appear before the court on Thursday is the lawmaker’s wife, Beatrice and 51-year-old Obinna Obeta, said to have been arrested weeks ago on charges related to slavery and exploitation.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, reports from the Central Criminal Court in Central London, saying the case has captured the attention of the world’s media because of its complexity.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: UK Court Grants Bail To Ekweremadu’s Wife

“We are expecting three individuals to appear in front of the judge today. That is the former Deputy Senate President; his wife, Beatrice and the third individual who was arrested by the Metropolitan Police a couple of weeks ago for charges related to Modern Slavery and Exploitation,” she said.

“This is a 51-year-old named Obinna Obeta. According to some reports, today is going to be a very short appearance.”

The judge and prosecutor are expected to lay out the offences, which will create room for the main trial, she said.

Ekweremadu In Prison Till Next Year?

Giving more updates, the correspondent said the Senator may be remanded in custody till 2023.

Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was arrested at the Heathrow Airport from Turkey in June.

He was in possession of a diplomatic passport with questions bordering on whether the case contravened the Vienna Convention and Diplomatic Immunity.

Efforts to get information from the Nigerian High Commission UK proved abortive, but it is expected that the lawmaker should be given immunity to face charges in his country.

The case began on May 5 when the alleged trafficked victim handed himself to the police authorities on the grounds that he was being coerced into giving his organs despite being under-aged.

However, the case came to the public knowledge on June 23 after Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the Metropolitan Police on arrival into the UK from Turkey.

She added, “Why I said this case is complex is because, over the past couple of weeks, it is twisting. What we found out on July 7 when they appeared at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court is that this alleged victim isn’t actually underaged.

“He is indeed a 21-year-old but that doesn’t mean some of the charges that face the Senator are not incredibly serious. He is believed to be in violation of the Modern Slavery Act of Britain (2015).

“This individual is said to have exploited the arrangements of how he got to the United Kingdom. So, the case continues.”

The lawmaker and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu, were arrested on June 23 by the British authorities and charged with conspiracy to traffic a child to the United Kingdom in order to harvest organs.

Prosecutors had said that the couple has a daughter with a kidney-related disease and has been on dialysis for quite some time. The British authorities believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.

Though the alleged victim of trafficking, David Nwamini, claimed he was 15 and was coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney, the Nigerian government provided records to prove that Nwamini was 21 years old, and not a minor.

Temporary respite came for the Ekweremadus as the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the alleged trafficked victim is not a minor. Despite the ruling, the lawmaker still faces charges of conspiring to traffick a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Wife Plead Not Guilty To Charges

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, have pleaded not guilty to the charges of human trafficking and organ harvesting in the United Kingdom.

Channels Television had reported their arrival at Westminster Magistrates Court for the continuation of their trial.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested by the British police on June 23 on allegations of human trafficking and organ harvesting that violate the country’s Modern Slavery Act.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

The police authorities had accused the lawmaker of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting, saying the victim was a 15-year-old boy.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ike Ekweremadu Back In Court

Giving an update from the court’s premises on Thursday, Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, said the court accepted that the kidney donor in Ekweremadu’s case is not a minor.

She said the prosecution has accepted that he is 21years old.

The court thereafter fixed August 4 as the date for the next hearing.

Just yesterday, the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the UK to aid Ekweremadu’s trial.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, had on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service, and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

The prayers were granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ike Ekweremadu Back In Court

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu is back in the West Minister Magistrates Court, the United Kingdom for the continuation of his trial.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested by the British police on June 23 on allegations of human trafficking and organ harvesting that violate the country’s Modern Slavery Act.

The police authorities had accused the lawmaker of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting, saying the victim is a 15-year-old boy.

READ ALSO: UK Police Arrest Ike Ekweremadu, Wife For Organ Harvesting

Giving an update from the court’s premises on Thursday, Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, said there was a show of support from the Nigerian High Commission in the UK.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

She said the lawmaker could either head to Nigeria to defend himself in court or still be remanded in UK police custody.

She explained that the lawmaker representing Enugu West Senatorial District has a sick child who had been suffering from kidney disease and needed a transplant.

“What we believe to be accurate is that the 15-year-old individual was taken off the street of Lagos by a criminal guy for the purpose of organ harvesting,” she said.

“I believe the Senator and his wife have a very ill child they wanted to use this individual’s organs to try and keep her alive, which if done properly, is legal. You are able to donate your organ but age and consent were key issues.

“There were consultations at the Royal Free Hospital in East London. The consultant said something is not right. They didn’t believe that this individual was the age on his document. They didn’t believe that he did consent to donate his organ.”

Just yesterday, the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the UK to aid Ekweremadu’s trial.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

The prayers were granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Alleged Money Laundering: Absence Of Judge Stalls Fayose’s Trial

Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose

 

The trial of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, was on Monday stalled before a Federal High Court Lagos.

This is because the court did not seat as the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke was said to be attending a conference.

The court registrar hinted that a new date would now be agreed on by the parties in due course.

Channels Television observed that most other courts did not sit and the same explanation was given that the judges were away for a conference.

READ ALSO: 2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N6.9 billion fraud and money laundering.

He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

The defendant, was, however, subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following a petition by the EFCC against the judge.

He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail granted, while the case was adjourned for trial.

The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

He was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

The offences contravene the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

The defendant however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Alleged N6.2bn Fraud: EFCC Closes Case Against Ex-Governor Jang

Jang Replies EFCC, Denies Ownership Of Kaduna Property
(File) Former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday closed its case in the alleged N6.2 billion fraud against the former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang.

Jang and Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), are being prosecuted before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos.

They are facing trial for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.2 billion.

At the last sitting, the EFCC had presented its fourteenth witness (PW14), a Chief Superintendent of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC),  Taiwo Oloronyomi, who testified against the defendants.

READ ALSO: Niger Govt Plans To Train Civil Servants, Signs MoU With ITF

While tendering the statement in evidence, the second defendant’s counsel, S. Olawale, raised an objection, arguing that the statement of his client to the ICPC was not voluntary as he was subjected to physical and psychological torture by one Hajiya Fatima Mohammed of the ICPC. This prompted the court to order a trial within trial.

Ruling on the trial within a trial on Tuesday, Justice Dabup admitted in evidence the statement that the second defendant made on November 17, 2016, to the ICPC. The crux of the statement pertained to the withdrawal of monies through cheques approved by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the State government, which was taken to the first defendant (Jang).

The judge, however,  rejected the statement made on November 23, 2016, saying that the mandatory cautionary word was not taken before the second defendant volunteered to write his statement.

After the prosecution closed its case, the defendants were expected to open their defence on  June 1, 2022. However, their counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and S. Olewale informed the court of their decision not to do so.

“We humbly intend to rely on the case of the prosecution because we believe and submit it is irredeemable, battered and drained of existential blood. We do not need to open any case for evidence in order not to waste the precious time of this honourable court,” Ozekhome said.

Citing section 301(3) of the Plateau State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018, he said: “If we are not providing any evidence, the law says that the prosecution has fourteen (14) days to address the court, and ten( 10) days for the defence to reply, and another five (5 days)  for the prosecution to reply on point of law”.

Thereafter, the judge adjourned the matter to July 1 for the adoption of final written addresses.

‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Writer On Trial For Murder Of Husband

A writer who penned a piece titled “How To Murder Your Husband” is on trial in the United States for…killing her husband.

 

 

 

A writer who penned a piece titled “How To Murder Your Husband” is on trial in the United States for…killing her husband.

It is a case that has all the hallmarks of classic detective fiction — a huge insurance payout, an impecunious suspect who claims to have amnesia, a missing weapon, and surveillance footage that seems to have caught the culprit red-handed.

But for novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, it’s not the plot of her latest book; it’s real life in an Oregon court room.

Crampton Brophy, whose “Wrong Never Felt So Right” series of novels include “The Wrong Husband” and “The Wrong Lover,” stands accused of shooting Daniel Brophy, using a gun whose now-missing barrel she bought on eBay.

Prosecutors say the 71-year-old writer was struggling to make payments on her mortgage, but kept up multiple life assurance policies that would pay out a total of $1.4 million in the event of her husband’s demise.

“I do better with Dan alive financially than I do with Dan dead,” she said as she took the stand in Portland this week, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

“Where is the motivation I would ask you? An editor would laugh and say, ‘I think you need to work harder on this story, you have a big hole in it.’”

Prosecutor Shawn Overstreet said security camera footage had captured Crampton Brophy’s minivan outside the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018 at almost exactly the time her chef husband was killed in one of the school’s classrooms.

“You were there at the same time that someone happens to be shooting your husband….with the exact type of gun that you own and which is now mysteriously missing,” he said.

Crampton Brophy told the court she has no memory of being there, though acknowledges she must have been, insisting the CCTV images show her in the area because she was driving around getting inspiration for a story.

“This is not a man I would have shot because I had a memory issue. It seems to me if I had shot him, I would know every detail.”

Daniel Brophy, 63, was found dead that morning by students readying for a class. He had been shot twice.

Investigators say the barrel from the Glock handgun used in the slaying was purchased by the suspect on eBay.

That barrel — which would contain damning forensic clues — has never been recovered, despite an exhaustive police search.

Crampton Brophy admits having bought a Glock pistol, which she says was for her husband to protect himself when he went mushroom hunting in the woods, but says the missing barrel was purchased as part of research for an unfinished novel.

“There was a big separation between what was for writing and what was for protection,” she told the court, The Oregonian reported.

Prosecutors say Crampton Brophy, whose “How To Murder Your Husband” remains accessible online and whose books can be bought on Amazon, was facing financial ruin before her husband’s death, but continued to pay into 10 separate life insurance policies.

The blog on murdering a husband discusses methods and motivations for dispatching an unwanted spouse.

These include financial gain and the use of a firearm, although it notes guns are “loud, messy, require some skill.”

“But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough,” the essay says.

The trial, which began in early April, is ongoing.