Alleged $3m bribe: Appeal Court dismisses Farouk Lawan’s no-case -submission
The Cpurt of Appeal on Tuesday in Abuja court dismissed the application filed by former lawmaker, Farouk Lawan seeking to terminate the three million dollars bribery charges filed by the Federal Government.
Lawan had approached the appellate court to set aside the decision of Justice Angela Otaluka of an Abuja High Court and free him from the charges.
Delivering judgment in the appeal filed against the ruling of Otaluka which held that Lawan had a case to answer ,Justice Olabisi Ige who headed the panel held that the decision of the lower court was well founded.
The appellate court in a unanimous decision held that a prima facie case was well established against Lawan that warranted him to enter his defense in the three counts charges brought against him since 2013.
Justice Ige held that contrary to the argument of Lawan, the prosecution evidence at the lower court was not in anyway discredited, hence the rejection of his no-case submission.
The appellate court also held that the language of the trial judge, Justice Otaluka which Lawan complained about, did not place the defendant in any disadvantage position or was in anyway inimical to his trial.
The judge, who quoted the records of proceedings of the FCTHigh Court, especially the testimonies of the five witnesses called by the federal government.
The panel upheld the findings of Justice Otaluka that there were sufficient evidence linking Lawan to the offences.
“I am of the firm view and I have no doubt that the oral and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution sufficiently linked the appellant to the charges against him and to warrant his being called upon to make his defense.
“Prosecution evidence was not slanted in favour of the prosecution. In all, all the four issues raised in this appeal are hereby resolved against the appellant. His appeal, being un-meritorios is hereby dismissed”, he held .
Justice Otaluka had sometimes last year dismissed the no-case-submission filed by Lawan who was then Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Oil and Gas in his alleged 3 million dollars bribery trial.
The prosecution closed its case after calling five witnesses, Lawan, through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN, had filed a no-case submission on the grounds that the evidence and testimonies did not link Lawan to the crime.
Ozekhome said the prosecution’s witnesses gave conflicting statements about the amount Lawan was alleged to have collected from the fifth prosecution witness, Mr Femi Otedola, who offered the alleged bribe to Lawan.
Ozekhome in addition argued that the video evidence showing how Lawan collected bribe from Otedola was blurry and does not necessarily prove that the content of the envelope Otedola gave to Lawan was money but could have been anything else.
He further submitted that if the Department of State Services (DSS) had any evidence they would have arrested Lawan immediately at the scene of the bribery which they claimed they set up.
Responding, prosecution lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission and ordered the defendant to enter his defense.
He added that, because the prosecution had established sufficient evidence through video and oral testimonies which linked Lawan to the alleged offences.
NAN reports that Justice Otaluka agreed with the submission of Awomolo and ordered Lawan to open his defense.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Gov Tambuwal frees 17 inmates in Sokoto
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has granted pardon to 17 inmates in the Sokoto Central Custodial centre.
Malam Muhammad Bello, the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media And Public Affairs disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
Bello said the gesture was part of government’s thrust as encapsulated in its committee on prerogative of mercy protocols.
He said three inmates out of the 17 were serving terms for federal offences while the remaining were held for state offences.
He added that the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Suleiman Usman, SAN, facilitated the processes.
“The pardon takes cognisance of the executive powers vested in the governor to offer mercy to inmates by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
” The gesture is also aimed at enabling the ex-prisoners to reunite with their family members and become decent citizens.
He called on the pardoned inmates to shun vices and engage in viable ventures that would uplift their living standards.
He said: “This exercise is carried out on a routine basis to deserving inmates in order to offer mercy to them.”
He said the Attorney General also presented N50,000 cash assistance to each of the pardoned inmates from the state government during the exercise.
Bello noted that the cash is to enable them set up useful ventures as they start new life out of prison.
The governor’s spokesman explained that the state Controller of Correctional Service, Mr Sama Tsafe, who was represented by the Deputy Controller in charge of the Prison, Mallam Idris Muhammad, thanked the state government for its continued support and encouragement to the prison.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Canada’s economy up 4.5 percent in May
Canada’s gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in May because businesses reopened after unprecedented economic lockdowns due to the COVID-19 spread in March and April, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.
May saw rebounds across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 percent surge to mark its largest monthly increase since 1961.
May’s gains offset some of the March and April declines, economic activity remained 15 percent below February’s pre-pandemic level.
In May, 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.
Both goods-producing industries rose 8 percent while the services-producing sector was up 3.4 percent.
Preliminary information indicates an approximate 5 percent increase in GDP for June and an approximate 12 percent decline in real GDP in the second quarter of 2020.
Owing to their preliminary nature, these estimates will be revised on Aug. 28 with the release of the official GDP for June and the second quarter.
Iraqi PM says early elections to be held on June 6, 2021
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday set June 6, 2021, as a date for the early elections, which is part of his government’s political program.
“I announce that June 6, 2021, will be the date for the early parliamentary elections and we will do our best to give success to this elections by protecting it and provide its needs,” al-Kadhimi said in a televised speech.
“I ask the parliament to send the electoral law to the presidency for approval, and that the electoral commission to enjoy full independence, in addition to that the elections to be held under international observers,” al-Kadhimi said.
Al-Kadhimi’s comments came after he held a meeting on Thursday with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), during which he confirmed that the government “is proceeding with the early elections, which is one of the main goals of the government program.”
Late last year, the Iraqi parliament passed most of the elections draft, but differences remained on a few articles due to political row among the political blocs.
On May 6, al-Kadhimi was sworn in as the new prime minister in Iraq, following the approval of the parliament on most of his cabinet members.