Ambode vs Lagos Assembly: Court adjourns case till January 2020

Ikeja High Court on Wednesday, adjourned till January 16, 2020 the hearing of a suit filed by former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to challenge the constitutionality of the probe of his administration by the House of Assembly over procurement of 820 buses for public transportation, daily post report.

The House had suspended the probe following an order of the court which directed parties to the suit to maintain status quo.

Aside the House, other defendants are the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa; House Clerk, Mr A.A Sanni; Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the Committee. They are Gbolahan Yishawu, A.A Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M.L Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T.A Adewale and O.S Afinni.

At the resumption of the matter on Wednesday before Justice Y. A. Adesanya, a team of lawyers to the defendants led by Lawal Pedro (SAN) and Olukayode Enitan (SAN), informed the court of the counter affidavit filed in opposition to the motion for interlocutory injunction and a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

Already, Pedro said he had been served with claimant’s (Ambode’s) written reply on point of law to the counter affidavit with a written address.

He, however, asked for time to react to the process served on him in court by the claimant’s legal team.

In response, the claimant’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), confirmed the receipt of the preliminary objection but informed the court that the defendants were yet to file a defence to the suit.

At the instance of both counsel, especially the need to put in all necessary processes, the matter was adjourned to January 16, 2020 for hearing.

Ambode had said contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House.

“In section 1 of the Bill, the 1st Defendant (House of Assembly) authorized the total Budget for the year 2018 to be One Trillion, Forty Six Billion, One Hundred and Twenty One Million, One Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Naira (N1,046,121,181,680.00) comprising the sum of Three Hundred and Forty Seven Billion, Thirty-Eighty Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Eight-Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira (N347,038,938,872.00) only and Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion, Eighty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Naira (N699,082,242,808.00) only as the Recurrent and Capital Expenditures respectively.

“Part of the items authorized by the Bill under Capital Expenditure was: “LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure (MEPB); Part financing of 820 buses” which was item 8 under schedule 1- Part C of the Bill,” the former Governor averred.

He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.

Highlighting the specific breach of his constitutional rights to fair hearing by the House, the former Governor said on August 27, 2019 during proceedings of the Assembly, some lawmakers thoroughly vilified and disparaged him as having purchased the buses without budgetary approval and that the procurement was a waste of public funds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to probe the procurement.

He said it was surprising that the very lawmakers who contributed actively in vilifying, disparaging and denigrating him constituted the bulk of the members of the Committee, which was a clear derogation of his right to fair hearing.

Ambode added that in continuation of deliberate misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the House falsely claimed that an invitation had been extended to him to appear before the Committee but that he failed to honour the said invitation.

“On Thursday 10th October, 2019, the 4th and 5th Defendants (Mojeed and Yishawu) who are Chairman and member of the Committee respectively set up by the 1st Defendant pursuant to the provisions of section 129 of the Constitution again raised on the floor of the House an allegation that the Claimant (Ambode) was invited to appear before the Committee but that he failed to do so whereupon the 2nd Defendant (Speaker) ruled that a warrant of arrest would be issued against the Claimant if he refuses to appear before the Committee.

“The Claimant states that no letter of invitation was delivered to him before the 4th and 5th Defendants made the false allegation against the Claimant which was widely reported by various national Newspapers in the country.

“Further to the foregoing paragraphs, the 1st Defendant had also invited some of the former Commissioners who served under my Government to appear before the 1st Defendant on Tuesday 15th October 2019. These included former Commissioners for Energy, Agriculture and Economic Planning and Budget respectively among others.

‘Fake native doctor’, 2 others remanded over fraud


Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court 1, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State has ordered the remand of a suspected fake native doctor, Fatai Olalere Alli (a.k.a. Baba Abore, Baba Oshun), and two others – Adigun Fatai Olusegun and Olufemi Kolawole, in prison custody.

The accused persons were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, Tuesday, on criminal charges bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and obtaining money by false pretense.

The court had earlier granted the Commission’s prayer for an order of interim forfeiture of properties traced to Alli, as well as freezing of accounts he allegedly used to received proceeds of crime.

According to the count-one of the charges, Olusegun and Kolawole allegedly conspired with Alli to obtain money under false pretense from one Attiogbe Daniel Babatunde.

The charges against the trio contravened Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, Section 1 (10 (a) and are punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

Before their arrest, the Commission said it had received several intelligence reports linking Alli to series of fraud allegations involving large sums of money.

According to the EFCC, “details on the intelligence alleged that he engages in money doubling through which he swindled and collected money from his victims with the promise of using his ‘spiritual powers’ to multiply the sums for them, but would instead divert same to his personal use.”

DAILY POST learnt that he was arrested on July 9, 2019 and made confessions that led to the arrest of his conspirators.

The Commission disclosed that it thereafter filed an application seeking an interim forfeiture order of the properties and accounts of the suspects.

The application is pursuant to Sections 28, 29, and 34(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004, Sections 333 and 337 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Section 44 (1)2)(k) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) and under the Interim Jurisdiction of the Honourable Court.

Justice Ajoku reportedly granted the application of the EFCC and ordered that the properties of the suspects be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

She had also ordered the freezing of their bank accounts pending the conclusion of the investigation, prosecution and final determination of the cases against them.

The properties include five buildings, three cars and hectares of farm land.

When they were called upon on Tuesday to take their plea, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

Alli pleaded not guilty to the 22-count charge, Olusegun pleaded not guilty to 32-count charges, while Kolawole pleaded not guilty to his one-count charge of conspiracy.

Due to the not-guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Oluwatinuwe Daramola, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand the accused persons in prison custody.

However, counsels to the accused persons prayed the court for a short date to hear the bail applications of their respective clients.

Bala Yakubu represented Alli, Babatunde Ajibola stood in for Olusegun, while Oluwole Adeosun advocated for Kolawole.

The presiding judge, however, refused their prayers, stating that their applications were not yet before the court.

She said the court registrar would communicate the date for bail argument to the parties once the applications are properly brought before the court.

Justice Ajoku then ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody as she adjourned the matter to November 22, 2019 for trial.

Four Persons in court for attempted murder

Four men were, on Wednesday, arraigned before an Ota Senior Magistrates’ Court in Ogun for attempted murder.

The men, Tayo Babajide, 37; Owolabi Tayo, 38; Olawale Olayiwola, 38; and Kehinde Oludele, 28, whose addresses were not given, are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, breach of peace and attempted murder.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Cynthia Ajezie, told the court that the defendants and others, still at large, committed the offences on Oct. 25, at about 11.40 am. at Mero Village, via Illogbo, Ota, Ogun.

Ajezie said that the defendants, while forcefully entering a landed property belonging to the Agbedako family, injured the complainant, Oluwaseun Shomoye, on the head, with machete.

She said that the offences contravened Sections 81, 86 and 320(1) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun, 2006.

All the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Senior Magistrate, Mr Shotunde Shotayo, granted each of the defendants bail in the sum of N400,000, with two sureties each in like sum.

Shotayo ordered that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and be gainfully employed, with evidence of tax payment to the Ogun Government.

The case was adjourned until Nov. 23, for further hearing. (NAN)

Benue: Tribunal judgment is victory for our people, Says Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom says the judgment of the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal is victory for the people of the state who elected him for a second term.

The Governor states that the verdict of the tribunal has confirmed the unanimous decision of Benue voters and has proven that his re-election was credible.

He returns all the glory and praise to God Almighty for honouring him with the mandate to lead the state for another term.

Governor Ortom also appreciates the leadership and members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, as well as other Benue people for the support given to him before, during and after the polls.

He specifically commends his Legal Team for its sterling performance during proceedings of the tribunal to secure the mandate.

The Governor declares that the victory at the tribunal is for every Benue person. He stresses that the task of building the state is the responsibility of all its people.

Governor Ortom extends a hand of fellowship to the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC for the 2019 governorship election, Barrister Emmanuel Jime and other contestants in the election.

He maintains that politics is over; now is time for governance, and gives assurance that his administration is willing to collaborate with Benue sons and daughters irrespective of political differences, ethnicity, religion and place of origin.

He restates the commitment of the present administration to the provision of selfless service to the people.

Appeal court clears APC Zamfara

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside a judgment of the Federal High Court, barring the All Progressives Congress from fielding candidates for the general elections in Zamfara State.

The Federal High Court’s judgment had followed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bar the APC in the state from fielding candidates.

In the judgment delivered on January 25, 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, had held that INEC was right to have delisted names of candidates APC presented for the elections.

According to Ojukwu, the APC had failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.

But a 3-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit and that it is an abuse of court process.

Justice Aboki stressed that the suit at the Federal High Court was filed out of time.

According to him, the Electoral Act provides 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, but in this case, the suit was filed 15 days after.

He, therefore, rendered the action incompetent.

The judgment of the Appeal Court comes just hours after the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, again stressed that the APC in both Zamfara and Rivers States will not field candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

“The position of the Commission remains the position we announced before now, that the parties in question by court order and/by our understanding of the interpretation of the judgments of two courts of co-ordinate jurisdictions delivered same day in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections,” Mr Mahmood said.

Patience Jonathan Forfeits N1bn by Court Order

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured an interim forfeiture of the sum of N1,000,494,000 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Naira) only lodged in three deposits with Fidelity Bank Plc on 20th and 25th May, 2015.

The forfeiture order by Federal High Court sitting in Kano and presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa is consequent upon a motion ex parte filed by the Commission seeking for the interim forfeiture of the money, which was found in the Bank account of Magel Resort Limited, a company linked to the former First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan.

The Commission had gotten an intel that a bank account domiciled in Fidelity Bank, had a huge sum of money that was not being used by anybody. Upon receipt of the intelligence, the EFCC swung into action by conducting preliminary investigation, which revealed that Patience and some relatives of former president, Goodluck Jonathan were directors of the Company.

Others named as directors are Oba Oba Tamunotonye, Goodluck Jonathan Aruera, Goodluck Jonathan Ariwabai and Esther Fynface. In trying to trace the origin of the money, it was discovered that N500,000 was deposited on the 20th of May, 2015 by Fynface, who is alleged to be in charge of the Company, while N1 billion (One Billion Naira Only) was transferred in two tranches on the 25th May, 2015 from PAGMAT OIL AND GAS NIGERIA LIMITED a company that was not incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Ruling on the motion, Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa held that: “An interim forfeiture order is granted to the Federal Government in the sum of N1,000,494,000 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Naira Only) in the Bank account of the 1st respondent Magel Resort Limited 4011019546 which is maintained with 2nd respondent Fidelity Bank Plc”. The court further ordered that the forfeited sum be deposited in the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.

Appeal Court Throws Onnoghen Back to CCT for Trial

The Court of Appeal has refused to stay the trial of the suspended chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, in the false asset declaration charges brought against him by the federal government at the code of conduct tribunal.

The Appellate Court in a unanimous decision in a ruling delivered by justice Abdul Aboki held that the prayers of Onnoghen, that is trial, be put on hold, runs contrary to sec 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ACJA 2015, Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling sited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the supreme court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.

The Appeal court said that there were no special circumstances under which the prayer of Onnoghen could be granted in the appeal argued on his behalf by Chief Wole Olanikpekun.

In the ruling, the appeal court agreed that the prayer of the appellant for stay of further proceedings ought to be refused, and consequently dismissed the appeal, seeking to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal from taking further steps in the six count false asset declaration charges filed against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal headed by Yakubu Umar had on January 14th ruled to hear all motions that arose in the charges against Onnoghen together and give decision on the motions.

But Onnoghen, having been dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal to hear all motions together had approached the court of Appeal to set aside the decision of the tribunal.

His appeal was predicated on the ground that the issue of jurisdiction raised against his trial ought to be resolved one way or the other first before any other motion could be entertained.

The Interim order granted by the court of Appeal on January 24th has therefore been vacated in compliance with section 306 of ACDA.

It will be recalled that the tribunal on January 28th adjourned the trial of Onnoghen sine die as a mark in which the Mr. Kumar said “was out of respect to the court of Appeal interim order”.

Federal government on the 14th sort to arraign Onnoghen at the CCT on false declaration of asset but it could not hold due to the absence of the defendant in the tribunal, who was said not to have been summoned.

On the January 22nd, he was also not in court for the second time, but his lead counsel told the tribunal that although his client had been served as required by law, he was not there because Onnoghen challenged the competence of the charge against him as well as jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Mean while the court has fixed 4th February for the substantive appeal related to the competence of the charge as well as the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Court Convicts Two Former INEC Officials

Two former officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) convicted for bribery and money laundering offences at The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday.

Christian Nwosu, an ex-Administrative Secretary with INEC and Tijani Bashir were found guilty of nine counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N264, 880,000.

However, one of the accused persons, Nwosu, was absent in court.

The former INEC officials were also found guilty of benefiting from a sum of $115.01m which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, doled out to compromise the 2015 elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Nwosu and Bashir collected N30m from the Diezani funds.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, then adjourned the case till Friday for sentencing.

Court dismiss suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria

Justice Nnamdi Dimg alt=’Court rejects suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria’ class=’img-responsive text-center’ style=’margin: auto;’ba of a Federal High Court in Abuja, has dismissed a suit challenging non-registration of a same-sex group by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), for lacking in merit.

 

The plaintiff, Pamela Adie, in the court papers, said that sometime in October 2017, she founded the “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives” whose objective was primarily to advocate for the rights of same-sex sexual orientation people but that her quest to register the association at the CAC, through her counsel, Fajenyo Kayode, was declined. She then filed a motion challenging the decision of the commission to decline the registration of the association.

In his judgment which was delivered last Friday, November 16th, Justice Dimg alt=’Court rejects suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria’ class=’img-responsive text-center’ style=’margin: auto;’ba held that the decision of CAC refusing to register the group was in compliance with 30 (1) (c) of the Companies And Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Cap C20 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“It is my view that where either the proposed name of the company or its aims and objectives are caught by the provisions of Section 30 (1) (c) of CAMA, the respondent is duly empowered to reject such an application for reservation of name or registration as it has done in this case.

 

“Section 30 (1) (c) of CAMA reads: “No company shall be registered under this Act by a name which- (c) in the opinion of the Commission is capable of being misleading as to the nature or extent of its activities or is undesirable, offensive or otherwise contrary to public policy.” the judge said

Recall that in January 2014, the Anti-Gay law which proffers 14-year jail term for anyone caught in any act of same sex was assented to by former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Barrister safiya bags perm Sec position at KTS ministry of justice

The Katsina State Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari has on Thursday sworn in Barrister Safiya Badamasi Umar as the new solicitor general and permanent secretary in the state ministry of justice.
Speaking at the ceremony Masari detailed that the former chairman of Commission of inquiry into looted funds who had a working experience with Safiya described her as a hardworking and dedicated civil servant.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari further implores on judicial officers to maintain their position of being last hope of common man.
“some lawyers do not uphold the ethics of the profession,” Masari affirmed
The Katsina State governor further reminded judicial officers on the day of judgment and charged them for accountability.
 The swearing-in ceremony had in attendance the state Chief Judge, the State Grand Khadi, the Secretary to the State Government (SGS), Judges, Qadis,  some members of the state executive council, among many others.
By Saleh Faruq Gagarawa