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JUDICIARY

Tribunal Sacks Oju/Obi Reps Member, Declares Okwu Winner

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Federal High Courts
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From Chris Gaga, Makurdi 

The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, has declared Mr Samson Okwu of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) as winner of the March 23, National Assembly election  for Oju/Obi Federal Constituency.

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) had declared Hon.

David Ogewu of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), winner of the Oju/Obi federal constituency seat in the march 23 elections.

Delivering Judgement on the petition filed by Samson Okwu against Mr David Ogewu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance today the Tribunal Chairman Justice A.

A Adeleye ordered The Independent National  Electoral Commission(INEC) to immediately issue a certificate of return to Mr Samson Okwu while the earlier certificate of return issued to Mr David Ogewu of APGA be withdrawn.

According to the Tribunal Chairman, all the witnesses called by the petitioner testified to the fact that election results for Obi local government were not collated by the Oju/Obi returning officer, adding that the petitioner, Mr Samson Okwu was able to prove that the collation and declaration of the APGA candidate, Mr David Ogewu was in non-compliance with the electoral law 

In his ruling, Justice Adeleye further stated that evidence before the tribunal shows that election in Obi was peacefully conducted but the returning officer did not wait to collate it based on allegation that there was apprehension which made him to only announce the result from Oju.

The Tribunal Chairman further stated that the electoral  returning officer for Oju/Obi federal constituency should not have declared David Ogweu as winner of the election in a situation where the result of Obi local government of over 59,000 registered voters was not declared.

In his argument earlier,counsel to Mr Samson Okwu Kenneth Ikonne(SAN) pointed out that the collation of result from Oju had some mathimatical errors and the tribunal agreed with him that  two hundred and fifty two votes has no origin.  The counsel to the 2nd respondent, Mr David Ogewu did not disprove the claim.

The two hundred and fifty two votes out of the total votes gotten by the APGA candidate in Oju was however deducted which brought the total votes in the two local govt for Mr David Ogewu to 13,306 votes , while the petitioner Mr Samson Okwu total votes was put at 14, 300.  

Justice Adeleye however said that the Tribunal has power to add up valid votes in the two local govt and accordingly noted that in the final collated result Samson Okwu of the Peoples Democratic Party led with a total of 994 votes 

Reacting to the judgment,the chairman of Obi Local govt  Mr Joseph  Ipenyi described the judgment as wonderful and a victory for the Igede people.

He however called on the candidate of the APGA Mr David Ogewu to embrace Mr Samson Okwu the House of Representative member for Oju/Obi federal Constituency to chart a way forward for the development of Igede land.

The member representing Obi at the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Oche applauded th  ruling, saying it has lifted the burden of sleepless nights on the Igede nation. 

Our Correspondent reports that the 2nd respondent, David Ekwu of APGA who was not issued certificate of return since the election wasclast week handed a certificate of return following an Appeal court order. 

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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