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JUDICIARY

Court Discharges, Aquits Public Servant of Theft

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A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Zuba, on Friday discharged and acquitted Mr Ewelike Samuel who was charged with theft and criminal breach of trust.

The Attorney-General of the Federation charged Samuel of the Federal Fire Service (FFS) on eight counts bordering on the said offences which he pleaded not guilty to.

Delivering judgment, Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya said that the court could not rely on unsubstantiated mere allegations because doing so would not be in the interest of justice.

Ogbonnaya said that the prosecution could not tender to the court the vehicle licence showing the chasis number of the vehicle for the court to determine if it was the same vehicle recovered in Lokoja, Kogi state.

She added that Samuel was not part of the people caught with the stolen vehicle when it was found.

” The court after considering the evidences tendered by the prosecution and defendant,  I hold that the prosecution was not able to establish and prove the crime against the defendant.

” The court however discharges and acquits the defendant of all the crime against him,” She said.

Ogbonnaya also ordered the FFS to recall the defendant to resume his duty and pay him all his allowances and salaries required.

She added that all his promotions from 2013 when he was tortured should be restored.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Baguda Sani had alleged that Samuel moved a Nissan Urvan bus and Toyota Hilux Jeep being property of the FFS on Oct.31, 2012 and Jan.25, 2013.

He further alleged that Samuel disposed and converted the said vehicles in violation of his contract of employment.

The prosecution counsel added that Samuel abetted one Innocent Adofu and Peter Otor by engaging them to move the vehicles without consent.

He alleged that Samuel made a false FFS identity card for Otor in order to gain access to the FFS vehicle with intention that it may be believed that he belonged to the service.(NAN)

JUDICIARY

Alleged N320m Fraud: Rep Mutu’s Defence Opening Suffers Setback

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The plan by Rep Nicolas Mutu (Delta-PDP) to open his defence, on Wednesday, in the alleged N320 million money laundering charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) suffered setback at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was listed as number one on the cause list before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, could not proceed due to the Ill-health of Mutu’s counsel, Patrick Ikwueto, SAN.

Reports says that the EFCC had, in the 13-count amended charge, sued Mutu along with Airworld Technologies Ltd and Oyien Homes Ltd as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

In the second amended charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/123/2019, dated Nov.

22, 2021 and filed Nov. 23, 2021, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the counts.

Mutu waa alleged to have committed the alleged offences between Aug. 2014 and Aug. 2016 when he served as the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

In the charge, he was accused of procuring “Airworld Technologies Ltd to conceal of the sum of N320,159, 689.63 to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd” when he ought to have known that the said sum formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Mutu, who represents Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta was in court but his lawyer, Ikwueto, was conspicuously absent and no lawyer represented him in the courtroom.

However, counsel for the 2nd defendant, J.O. Asoluga, SAN, was in court.

The EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, informed the court that the matter was scheduled for the defendants to enter their defence but that he was in receipt of a letter earlier in the morning from Ikwueto who had been appearing for Mutu and the 3rd defendant that he was indisposed.

Iheanacho said in the letter, a medical report from University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, was also attached.

The lawyer said Ikwueto, in the letter, sought an adjournment of the case and also for the court to vacate tomorrow (Feb. 22)’s date to enable him attend to his health.

Iheanacho said he would reluctantly conceded to adjournment on the ground of Ill-health.

He, however, felt bad that the two days scheduled for the trial would be vacated even when the court had deliberately listed only two matters on the course list to enable the case progress since the judge comes from outside jurisdiction.

Counsel for the 2nd defendant, J.O. Asoluga, SAN, said he had no objection to the application for adjournment.

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo consequently adjourned the matter until March 20 and March 21 for the defendants to open their defence.

Reports says that the judge had, on Jan. 22, fixed Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 for Mutu to open his defence after his no-case submission was dismissed by the court.

Giwa-Ogunbanjo, in a ruling, directed Mutu and his co-defendants to enter their defence as they have a case to answer in respect of the allegations made against them.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Surety Faces N500,000 Bail Bond Forfeiture Charge

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A 47-year-old man, Ogbonna Anoka, who allegedly stood surety for a church member, but failed to produce him in court as required, on Tuesday appeared before a Sabo-Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

Anoka, whose house address was not given, entered a ‘not-guilty’ plea to a charge of perversion of justice.

The Prosecutor, Insp.

Magaji Haruna, told the court that Anoka committed the offence on Jan.
26, at the State Criminal Investigation Department, M.A.K Smith St., Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

Haruna alleged that the defendant conspired with one other person to obstruct and pervert the course of justice.

“The defendant stood as a surety for one Nonso Onyekwelu, a church member, who was involved in a case of conspiracy and receiving stolen property reported at the station.

“Onyekwelu was granted bail and released to the defendant, who promised to produce him at the station until the case is finally disposed off.

“The accused is hereby called upon to show cause why the sum of N500,000 bond executed by him should not be forfeited,” the prosecutor said.

The offence, Haruna said, contravenes Section 97 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Reports says that the Section 97 provides seven years imprisonment for perversion of justice, while sub section (3) provides two years imprisonment.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. Y. Adefope, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.

The case was adjourned until Feb. 21 for mention (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Discharges Sowore, Bakare, Orders DSS to Release Seized Items

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, discharged Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare of alleged treasonable felony charge by the Attorney-General.of the Federation (AGF), Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling after counsel for the AGF, A.R. Tahir, withdrew the charge, struck out the matter.

Justice Nwite also ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to immediately release three phones and the sum of N10, 000 seized from Sowore during his arrest.

The judge also ordered the DSS to release a phone belonging to Bakare and the sum of N1, 500 confiscated from him during his arrest.

Justice Nwite equally ordered that Sowore’s international passport be released.

The orders followed an application by lawyer to Sowore and Bakare, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, to tye effect.

Reports says that Sowore and Bakare were earlier arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in 2019 before the matter was reassigned to Nwite.(NAN)

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