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JUDICIARY

Court Orders Final Forfeiture of Diezani’s $40m Jewellery

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From Mark Mayah 

Lagos 

Justice I.N. Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos , on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, ordered the final forfeiture of some jewellery and a customized gold Iphone valued at $40m belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

The Judge had, on July 5, 2019, granted the interim forfeiture of the properties, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Oweibo had also directed interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, Nnamdi Awa-Kalu, counsel to the respondent, Alison-Madueke, had filed a motion on notice setting aside the order of the court granting the interim forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government.

Awa-Kalu,   in the application, also claimed that his client was a successful businesswoman in the oil and gas sector, who had acquired the properties through legitimate means as well as gifts.

However, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime as the respondent failed to show how they were acquired.

Oyedepo also submitted that “ it is an unlawful activity for a public officer to receive gifts as a result of what was done or not done.”

Oyedepo, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the application of the respondent and forfeit the properties to the Federal Government.

 In his ruling, Justice Oweibo held that the issues raised by the EFCC were more apt and that “it is only logical that the court dismisses the respondent’s application. “

Justice Oweibo also held that the respondent failed to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government and consequently granted the EFCC’s application.

JUDICIARY

Court Further Adjourns Fayose’s Money Laundering Trial

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Money laundering trial of a former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, could not proceed on Wednesday before a federal high court in Lagos, as the court did not sit.

The  Judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, is said to be away on an official assignment.

The case has been adjourned until March 8 for continuation of trial,

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N6.

9 billion fraud and money laundering.

He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun.

He was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd.

, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering.

Fayose, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

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

Fayose equally pleaded not guilty before Aneke, who allowed him to continue on the bail granted him by Olatoregun.

EFCC has since opened its case before Aneke and is leading witnesses in evidence.

According to the commission, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele took possession of N1.2 billion for the purpose of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti.

The commission alleged that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose is also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

EFCC also alleged that the former governor retained N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which formed part of crime proceeds.

It added that Fayose procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to retain aggregate sums of N851 million which formed part of crime proceeds.

The commission also accused Fayose of using about N1.6 billion crime proceeds to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.

The former governor also allegedly used N200 million crime proceeds to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

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

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JUDICIARY

Man in Court over Customer’s Tyres 

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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The Police on Wednesday arraigned a 30-year-old man, Badamasi Saidu, in a Magistrate’s Court, New Karu, Nasarawa State, over alleged theft of two tyres belonging to his customer.

The defendant, who is into car wheel balancing and resides at Calvary Road, Mararaba was charged with criminal breach of trust, cheating and theft, offences he denied committing.

The prosecutor, Mr Shehu Ndam, told the court that the defendant was arrested on Feb.

14, following a report by the complainant, Sylvia Ugochi.

“The complainant alleged that she entrusted some tyres to the defendant to sell, but that he stole two tyres, valued at N116,000.

“The complainant also alleged that goods worth N3 million had been stolen from her shop,” Ndam told the court.

He said the offence contravened sections 312, 322 and 288 of the Penal Code.

The Judge, Godiya Bawa, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 and one surety in like sum, and adjourned the case until March 8 for hearing. (NAN

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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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