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Judiciary

Alleged N6.9bn fraud: Trial of Fayose to resume Oct. 21

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The trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, will now resume on Oct. 21 before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Ccommission (EFCC) over N6.9billion fraud and money laundering charges.

He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences.

He had 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 defendant was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2.

He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail granted.

After his re-arraignment, Justice Aneke had granted leave for the defendant to travel aborad for medicals.

The court had however, ordered that his International passport be returned to the court, on or before Sept. 16.

Aneke had then adjourned the case until Sept. 16, 17, 18, and 19 and also to Oct. 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 for continuation of trial.

Meanwhile, the case will now come up on Oct. 21, as Judges are away for the annual judges conference, which takes place after the annual long vacation of the court.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that during the pendency of the charge before Justice Olatoregun, EFCC had opened trial on Nov. 19, 2018, and had so far called 13 witnesses out of the15 listed.

However, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon.Justice Adamu Abdu-kafarati had transferred the case from Olatoregun, to Aneke, following a petition by the EFCC.

During trial before Olatoregun. the prosecution had called witnesses, from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

He was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

UNS/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Oil & Gas

Alleged oil theft : DPR hands over 9 vessels to Navy, EFCC

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said nine vessels allegedly involved in oil theft had been handed over to the Nigerian Navy and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director, DPR,  made the disclosure on Wednesday during an online interactive session with the media on topical issues in the oil and gas industry.

Auwalu said the DPR had initiated Crude Oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Tracking (COLT) to track vessels coming in or going out of the country in order to curb oil theft.

“We have had a remarkable result with COLT. As I am speaking to you today, we have handed nine vessels to the Nigerian Navy and the EFCC.

“They are under the Western Naval Command. We have arrested several vessels and some of the vessels are for oil thieves.

“We are working with the Nigerian Navy and we quickly alert the Navy whenever we see any suspicious vessel during surveillance,” he said.

Auwalu said that other measures were being implemented by the regulatory agency to improve accountability in the oil and gas sector, which  include the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) that focuses on data gathering.

“We have been able to track online/real time data of what our productions are and so we are now in the position to say what is the production done by this country.

“All our fields are largely tracked online now. So, it is not true that Nigeria cannot account for what it is producing, be it crude oil or gas, ” he said.


Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Judiciary

Man, 35, arraigned over alleged fraud

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The Police on Wednesday arraigned a 35-year-old man, Sunday Ademola, at an Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court over an alleged fraud.

The defendant of no fixed address is standing trial on a charge of fraud.

The prosecutor, Insp. Oriyomi Akinwale, told the court that the defendant committed the offence  in September 2019 in Ado-Ekiti.

He alleged that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of N100,000 from one Adams Obanibi in pretext to supply him split air conditioner, which he failed to do.

Akinwale said the offence contravened Section 421 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

The prosecutor asked the court for  adjournment to enable him to study the case file and present his witnesses.

The defendant pleaded not guilty, while his counsel, Mr Timi Omotosho, urged the court to grant him bail, with a promise that he would not jump bail.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Adedayo Oyebanji, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N50,000 with one surety in like sum.

He adjourned the case until July 1 for hearing.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man, 57, for allegedly raping of girl, 12

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A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Osun on Wednesday remanded one Moses Oloko, 57, in Ilesa Correctional Centre, for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl.

The Magistrate, Mrs Royibat Olayemi, said the defendant should be remanded due to the magnitude of the offences he committed.

Olayemi, then adjourned the case until June 9 for mention.

The defendant, whose plea was not taken in court, is facing a three-count charge bordering on assault and rape.

The Prosecutor, ASP. Taiwo Adegoke, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on May 25 at about 10.30a.m at Oke-Mission Area, Ejigbo.

Adegoke said the defendant used to luring the 12-year-old girl with sum of N100 on several occasions to assault and have carnal knowledge of her unlawfully.

The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 31 (1) (2), 32 of the Child’s Right Act, 2007 and Section 360 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Vol. 11, Laws of Osun, 2002.


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Judiciary

Alleged certificate forgery: Court admits lawmaker to N5m bail

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An Abuja Area Court on Wednesday admitted a lawmaker, Ahmed Ndakene, charged with alleged certificate forgery to bail in the sum of N5 million.

Ndakene, who represents Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency of Kwara, appeared before the Court over alleged criminal breach of Section 88(1), 89(3) and 109c of the Administrative Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 brought against him by Mahmud  Babako.

Babako, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election that Ndakene emerged as winner, under the APC alleged that the defendant forged his certificate.

Babako also alleged that the said forged document was presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the form he used to contest for the 2019 election.

He alleged that the defendant deposed on oath to facts which were not true and his occupying the seat of his constituency was based on false information and forged documents.

Babako lead counsel, Labio Orji prayed the court to allow Ndakene to take his plea instead of seeking for police investigation into the matter before he would be arraigned.

Alex Edim, the lead counsel to Ndakene, however, opposed the application and predicated his objection on Section 89 (5) of the ACJA, 2015.

In the stated section, according to Edim, the court has the powers to refer any matter before it to the police for investigation before any further action can be taken.

He said that it was wrong to arraign his client over an investigation by the complainant without following the due process of informing the police.

“All complaints made directly to the court may be referred to the police for investigation before any action can be taken,” Edim said

He added that sections 106 and 89 of the Act did not give any private individual any right to prosecute or commence criminal proceedings or matter before following the due process or seeking for approval and fiat of the Attorney-General

He, therefore, urged the court to use its discretion and for the interest of justice to allow the police to investigate the matter and by so doing the case would not be prejudiced.

But Orji urged the court to disregard Edim’s argument because the Sections of the Act use the word ” may” and not ” shall” as “may” in the context meant a discretionary word and not mandatory.

Orji said that by allowing the defendant to take his plea, the interest of justice would not be prejudiced as the stated Sections of the Act said a Legal practitioner authorised by the Attorney General and any Act of the National Assembly can conduct criminal proceedings.

The Judge, Inuwa Maiwada, after listening to the submissions of both counsel, pointed out that the Sections quoted did not specify that only the police could investigate a matter but any government security agency.

Maiwada also said the law stipulated that where an issue cropped up before an arraignment, the defendant woul remain in the custody of the court.

The judge said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to decongest the correctional facility he would grant the defendant bail.

He, therefore, admitted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million and one reasonable surety in like sum with a financial standing for the bond to be entered.

Maiwada equally ordered that the surety must reside within the court jurisdiction, which must be verified by the court officials.

He adjourned the matter until June 11 for ruling on submission of the points raised by both counsel.


Edited By: Joe Idika/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Police parade 104 suspects, man who allegedly raped 7-months daughter

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The Benue Police Command has arrested  104 persons for sundry offences, including a middle aged man who allegedly defiled his 7-month old daughter.

The Commissioner of Police  in charge of the command, Mukaddas Garba, while presenting the suspects to Journalists in Makurdi on Wednesday, said that the others were arrested for Kidnapping  and Cult activities.

Garba said the command was determined to rid  the State of all criminal elements.

According to him,  45 of the suspects are held for cultism, 38 armed robbery cases, 4 for kidnapping , 16 for voliating nationwide churfew on COVID-19, and one for advanced fee fraud.

He disclosed that the command had also recovered 15 arms and 20 ammunition from the suspects.

The commissioner disclosed that one Simon Emeka of Modern Market was arrested on June 2 for defiling his 7-month old daughter, adding that investigation into the matter was ongoing.

He said that on May 27 during Police regular patrol at North Bank Makurdi,  arrested one Peter Egbe, with one locally made pistol loaded with one live cartridge.

On May 30 about 25 suspected cultists engaged themselves in a fight and were arrested.

“Three locally made pistols, one single barrel gun, four cartridge, two live ammunition, two knives, six handsets, a cultlass and wraps of weed suspected to be Indian hemps were recovered.”

He said the Command also on May 28, during a raid in Wadata area of Makurdi, arrested Abubakar Yakubu and Awushdor Adamu with one locally made pistol and four live ammunitions were recovered from them.

Garba said the Command had also arrested 16 persons including three foreigners for voliating nationwide churfew on inter State movement in the state.

He said the command also had arrested suspected armed robbers who broke into a house in Otukpo and recovered one locally fabricated gun,  a toy gun, knife and machete.

The police chief also disclosed that police operatives had smashed a kidnap syndicate in Ankpa quarters of Makurdi and arrested all suspects while   warming up for an operation.

A team of Police officers was deployed to the scene and it arrested one Terseer Peter, Omochoko Aba, and Aondoakura Terna.

“Further investigation led to arrest of the gang leader, Ameh Onuh Okpe, with one locally made pistol and three live ammunition were recovered from him”.

Speaking to newsmen, Mr Simon Emeka, father of the alledged sexually molested baby, admitted that medical reports confirmed his daughter was raped.

He,however, denied being responsible.


Edited By: Philip Dzeremo and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Judiciary

AGF takes over prosecution of alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin,  Wadume

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The Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF) and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami has taken over the prosecution of alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume), Capt. Tijjani Balarabe and 18 others.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, a lawyer from the Ministry of Justice told the court that the AGF has taken over the prosecution of the matter.

Labaran said that the AGF needed time to look at the case file before re-arraigning the defendants and prayed the court for a short adjournment.

The counsel  said the adjournment was to enable the prosecutors to put their house in order.

The AGF has taken over the prosecution of this case. We have received the file and noticed that there are about 20 defendants from the charge.

” So there is need for us to review the charge and also liaise with the arresting agency to ensure that all the defendants are brought to court.

“We will do all that is necessary to ensure that  justice is done in the matter,” he said.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the matter until June 8 for re-araignment.

The News Agency of Nigeria report that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had filed a 16- count charge bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against Wadume and the others. 

NAN reports that they were arraigned on March 16.

Count one of the charge read, “That you, Alhaji Hamisu Bala, 33, aka Wadume; Capt. Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe; ASP Aondona Iorbee; Insp. Aliyu Dadje; Auwalu Bala; Uba Bala; Ahmad Suleiman; Bashir Waziri; Zubairu Abdullahi; Rayyanu Abdul and others now at large, between February and April 2019 at Takum and Ibi, Taraba, within the jurisdiction of this court, while acting in concert, conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

 They were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act 2004.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

4 men in court over alleged cultism, breach of peace in Ogun

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Four men on Wednesday appeared in a Magistrates’ Court in Ota, Ogun State over alleged cultism and breach of peace.

The police charged Akeem Ishola, 29, Afeez Lawal,31, Mutiu Tijani,20, and Oluwole Emmanuel,22 whose addresses were not provided with two counts of  conspiracy and membership of an unlawful society.

The prosecution counsel, Insp. Abdulkareem Mustapha, told the court that the defendants and others at large, committed the offence on May 12 at about 7.35 p.m. at the Oando Gasline, Ijoko in Ota.

Mustapha alleged that the defendants and their accomplices belonged to a secret cult called, “Eiye Confraternity”.

He alleged that the defendants conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by creating fear in the minds of the public.

The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of sections 63 and 516, of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun, 2006.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Senior Magistrate S.O. Banwo admitted the defendants t bail in the sum of N150, 000 beach with two sureties each in like sum.

Banwo ordered that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and should be gainfully employed with evidence of tax payment to Ogun government.

The magistrate adjourned the case until June 22 for trial.


Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Politics

LASG confiscates 2 houses allegedly used for fraud

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The Lagos State government, on Tuesday, says it has confiscated two houses allegedly used in defrauding unsuspected residents in the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, made this known during the 2020 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the first year of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration.
Benson-Awoyinka said that henceforth, any fraudsters caught would be prosecuted.
She said that government had resolved to take such strong measures to stop developers and agents from defrauding members of the public in the state.
The governor’s aide, who is also in charge of the Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD), said that the agency was currently prosecuting two developers who allegedly duped people in Ketu and Mafoluku areas.
She said that government had also seized their properties and that her office was working on ways of selling them, adding that the proceeds from the sale would be used to settle those who were defrauded.
Benson-Awoyinka, however, appealed to members of the public to always patronise agents and developers, who were registered with the agency.
”We have successfully reviewed the Estate Agency Regulatory Law, Cap L28, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 presently in operation in the state, which provides for the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority.
”The
essence of this law is to regulate real estate transactions in Lagos State by identifying persons eligible to be licensed as real estate practitioners and provide for the issuance or renewal of annual permits,” the special adviser said.
According to her, the agency has the responsibility of maintaining a register of licensed real estate practitioners and sanctioning of unlicensed ones in the state.
”However, there is the need to sanitise real estate transactions in the state. In achieving this, the state must have a data base of persons dealing in real estate transactions for it to control their activities.
”Thus government must amend the law to reflect its efforts in monitoring the transactions of real estate in a way that is proactive so as to protect its citizens and rid the state of fraudsters,” she said.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Defence/Security

Police arrest officer over alleged killing of motorcycle operator in Adamawa

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Police in Adamawa on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of their officer, who allegedly shot and killed a commercial motorcycle operator in Maiha Local Government Area of the state.

DSP Sulaiman Nguroje, the state Police Command Public Relation Officer, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria in Yola.

Nguroje said the incident occurred on Monday at about 9 a.m in Maiha town of Maiha local government area.

“The officer is currently under arrest and the Commissioner of Police, Mr Olugbenga Adeyanju, has given directive for thorough investigation into the matter.

“As soon as the investigation is completed, the suspected officer will be charged to Court for appropriate action,” Nguroje said.

He warned that officers and men were given riffles to protect lives, not to take lives of innocent citizens and should always discharge their duty within the rule of law and to respect human rights.

Nguroje also appealed to the citizens of the state to desist from taking laws into their hands, as the Command was making efforts to protect  their lives and properties.

Alhaji Idi Amin, the Chairman of Maiha Local Government Council, expressed dismay over the incident and described it as “unacceptable”.

Amin assured the family of the deceased, Arabo Tambajam, 20, and the people of Maiha town that the local government council would follow the case until justice was done.

“I am in shock the way and manner this young man , Arabo Tambajam, 20, recklessly shot by the security officer who supposed to protect the lives of people in the area.

“I am assuring the people that the management of the Local Government Council would not rest until justice prevail,” Ameen said.

He however called the locals not to take laws into their hands as government was making efforts to ensure justice was done.

NAN gathered that the deceased was a commercial motorcyclist in Maiha town.

Tambajam was allegedly shot and killed by a police officer at a checkpoint after he allegedly refused to give the police N100.

Late Tambajam was said to have earlier given the officer N50 to allow him pass, but refused and demanded for N100.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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