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Trader in court for stealing 100 bags of beans

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A 32 -year-old trader, Egbe Njideka, charged with stealing 100 bags of beans valued at N2.76 million was on Tuesday brought before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

The defendant, who resides at Ijesha, Lagos, was arraigned before Magistrate Mrs M.O. Tanimola on a two-count charge of obtaining goods under false pretences and stealing.

Njideka, however, denied committing the offences and was admitted to a bail in the sum of  N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.

Tanimola said that the sureties should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

Police Prosecutor, Insp. Aondohemba Koti, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Dec. 20, 2018 at Daleko, Mushin, Lagos.

“The defendant approached the complainant begging him to supply the bags of beans to him under the pretext of selling them and remitting the money to him.

“The complainant delivered the goods to him and after the defendant sold the goods, he converted the proceeds to his own and refused to give the complainant.

“Efforts made by the complainant to collect his money proved unsuccessful as the defendant was still giving excuses after seven months of selling the goods.

“The case was reported and the defendant was arrested,” the prosecutor said.

The offences violated sections 287 and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that section 287 stipulates three years imprisonment for stealing while section 314 prescribes 15 years for obtaining goods under false pretences.

Judiciary

Corruption: Again, Maina’s failing health stalls his trial

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The trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTM), was, on Thursday, discontinued at the Federal High Court, Abuja, due to his worsening health condition.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Maina had, on Oct. 25, arraigned alongside a firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Okon Abang.

Maina is standing trial on alleged money laundering charges to the tune of over N2 billion preferred against him by the EFCC.

While Maina is the 1st defendant in the case, the company was the 2nd defendant.

Though he pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charges, his trial has yet to make meaningful progress due to his failing health.

After his arraignment on Oct. 25, the former pension reform boss had claimed that he took ill and was unable to attend his trial.

He had also, on Nov. 7, come into the court on wheelchair.

His absence in court on Nov. 13 forced the court to adjourn proceedings to Thursday, with an order on the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in charge of Health and Social Welfare, H.B. Kori to conduct a thorough examination on Maina, in order to ascertain his health status.

When the matter came up on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar informed the court that the business of the day was to take response to the submissions of the first and second defendants’ objections to the admissibility of document the prosecution wanted to tender in evidence.

However, Maina’s lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, drew the court’s attention to the deteriorating health of his client.

“My Lord, my client is bleeding and I will seek your indulgence to allow him take his medication,” he said.

NAN reports that Maina was brought to court in the morning with the aid of two people.

Oronsaye told Justice Abang that due to his deteriorating health condition, Maina would not be able to stand the trial.

He pleaded with the judge to shift the trial pending the time the defendant would recover to be able to stand for his defence in the criminal charges against him.

The request for adjournment was not opposed by counsel to the EFCC, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.

But, counsel to the 2nd defendant, Adeola Adedipe, told the court that the business of the day was for the report from the NCS on the health status of Maina, ruling on Maina’s bail application and to take reaction of the prosecution on the objections by the defendants on the admissibility of the document it sought to tender.

Adedipe told the court that he was not ready to go on with the trial, unless the issues were addressed by the court, otherwise, the proceedings of the court would be set aside by the Court of Appeal.

Justice Abang, who was unhappy over the comment by Adedipe, condemned the remark, describing it as unethical and contemptuous.

He said the court would not hesitate to order the police to walk out any counsel or anybody that attempt to frustrate the proceedings of the court in subsequent sittings.

The judge also accused the NCS of compounding the issue before the court because it failed to produce a medical report on the health status of Maina, 15 days after the order to that effect was made by the court.

Justice Abang, however, conceded to the application for adjournment and fixed Nov. 25 for ruling on the bail application and continuation of trial, which according to him, would be on a day-to-day basis.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

Benue Governorship: Appeal court reserves judgment in appeal challenging Ortom’s re-election G

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday reserved judgment in an appeal challenging the re- election of Samuel Ortom’ s as Benue governor.

Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the return of Mr Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the grounds of substantial noncompliance with the provisions of Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.

Also joined in the petition were the PDP and INEC.

The five- man panel of the appellate court presided over by Justice A.A Begore after listening to the brief of arguments by the counsel in the matter reserved judgment to a date that  would be communicated to parties.

Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN, counsel for the appellants in his brief of argument urged the panel to find merit in the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower tribunal.

All the counsel for the respondents,  Mr Offiong Offiong , SAN for INEC,  Mr Sabestine  Hon, SAN for Ortom and Mr Chris Uche, SAN for PDP in their various brief of argument urged the panel to dismiss the appeal with substantial cost. The petitioners alleged in their petition that Ortom was not dully elected by majority of lawful votes cast and there were issues of over voting.

The APC governorship candidate also challenged the results declared in Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Ukum, Ushongo and Vandeikya.

He therefore asked the tribunal to either declare him winner of the March 2019 governorship election in Benue or nullify Ortom’s election and order the conduct of a fresh election in the state.

NAN reports that at Benue Election Petition Tribunal, the petitioners called 59 witnesses who testified that they witnessed irregularities, over voting and other electoral malpractices perpetrated by the PDP and INEC during the election.

 The respondents stated that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, adding that non-substantial compliance did not affect the result of the election.

During the hearing of the petition Ortom called only one witness while the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC did not call any witness.

 The Governorship election sitting in Makurdi on Oct. 7 dismissed the petition of Jime.

The Tribunal presided over by Justice Henry Olusiyi, in its judgment held that the  Petitioner’s witness statements were contradictory, unreliable and not credible.

The panel added that their statements were incompetent and their inability to identify documents and link them to the case which amounts to dumping the materials on the tribunal.

Olusiyi also held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegation of over voting, noting voters’ register and not the smart card reader remains the valid method to ascertain the number of registered voters in an elegant.

“Card reader can only be alternative and admissible if the National Assembly amends the Electoral Act to provide for it” the panel held.

He added that  witnesses failed to prove allegation of over voting to warrant the cancellation of votes in polling units. (NAN )

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Alleged P&ID scam: EFCC files fresh charges against Briton

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, filed fresh charges against James Nolan, a Briton, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The EFCC’s Counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, had, at the resumed trial, told Justice Okon Abang that the anti-graft agency had filed an additional proof of evidence dated Nov. 20.

The lawyer said the EFCC brought up a fresh 32-count charge against the defendants in the case contrary to the initial 16-count charge bordering on money laundering.

Nigeria News Agency reports that EFCC had, on Oct. 21, arraigned Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), both British nationals, over their alleged complicity in the 9.6 billion dollars judgment against Nigeria.

Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), an Irish engineering company, had secured the award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) the company had with the federal government.

The arraignment of the two British nationals is coming weeks after two P&ID directors were convicted over the deal.

The defendant are both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited.

Paul Erokoro, SAN, counsel to Nolan, though acknowledged that the new count-charge was served on him, said he was served with not only the amended charge alone but an amended proof of evidence.

However, the EFCC lawyer Iheanacho, corrected that what was served was not an amended charge but an additional proof of evidence.

He urged the court to grant his prayer for the amended charges to be read to the defendant for his plea to be taken.

Erokoro did not raise any objection to Iheanacho’s prayer.

Nolan, however, pleaded not guilty to the 32-count charge.

Justice Abang, therefore, ordered Iheanacho to call his first prosecution witness for continuation of the trial.

NAN recalls that the EFCC’s lawyer had, on Wednesday, called his first prosecution witness, Mr Agunbiade Adewale Akinseye, an account officer with the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB).

Erokoro at the Wednesday’s hearing demanded for the original of the witness’ statement to aid the cross-examination, but the EFCC’s lawyer, though said he was not with it in the court, he promised to make it available after the sitting.

The defendant counsel, at Thursday’s proceeding, told the court that the anti-graft lawyer had made the statement available to him.

However, the EFCC kicked against the admission of the witness’ statement in the trial of Mr Nolan.

Akinseye had made the statement in writing to EFCC in which he chronicled how about eight accounts linked to the controversial oil and gas supply contract was opened in 2006 and operated till date before the sponsors of the company were arrested in connection with the failed oil and gas deal.

The witness, who was led in evidence by Iheanacho, had told the court how huge amounts in dollars were transferred in batches from P&ID Ltd accounts overseas into its subsidiaries’ accounts in Nigeria (P&ID Nigeria Ltd) through GTB.

The witness also told the court how huge sums running into millions of Naira were also transferred from one of the subsidiaries to another, especially Goidel Resources Nigeria Limited and ICIL Nigeria Limited.

Disagreement however erupted during cross-examination by counsel to the defendants when the witness admitted that there was nothing unusual in foreign companies transferring money to their subsidiaries in Nigeria legally.

The witness further told the trial judge, Abang, that his bank, GTB, would not have accepted the transfer of the foreign currency from outside the country if it were not for legitimate purposes.

Erokoro, who cross examined the witness based on his written witness statement to EFCC, applied to tender it as exhibits to assist the court deliver a fair hearing in the case.

However, the request was vehemently opposed by EFCC’s counsel, who stated that the defence counsel did not lay foundation for admission of the statement.

Iheanacho insisted that the witness statement can only be tendered if it was for the purpose of discrediting the oral testimony of the witness.

But Erokoro expressed worry on why the EFCC objected to admitting its own statement, adding that the witness was accurate in the statement he made to the anti-graft agency.

Justice Abang however fixed December 6 for ruling on the admissibility or otherwise of the statement and for continuation of the trial.

Among the fresh charges brought against the Briton and the two companies by the EFCC include money laundering, tax evasion and failure to disclose their activities to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in line with the Money Laundering Act.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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I did not test my daughter’s virginity, man tells court

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A 37-year-old commercial motorcyclist on Thursday told an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court that he did not use fingers to check his  daughter’s virginity.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the driver is facing a charge of sexual assault by penetration, contrary to Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendant, who testified solely for defence, denied the allegation, saying that the 12-year-old daughter (name withheld) was poorly behaved and kept bad company.

He was led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr Adeyemi Adepite.

“My daughter is following bad friends, my neighbours said all sorts of things about her. I did not believe it until I saw it myself.

“On Nov. 21, 2017, I saw my daughter with some boys while her brother was in the house watching television. When I called her name, the boys ran away and I asked her to tell me who her boyfriend was.

“When I tried to beat her, she tried to fight me like those friends of hers who beat up their parents. That was the reason I beat her that day,” he said.

He denied  seeing his daughter’s nakedness.

He added that he beat his daughter once in 2017,   saying that a report stating that she endured numerous physical and sexual assaults from him was false.

While being cross-examined by Ms Inumidun Solarin,  prosecution counsel, the defendant denied attacking his daughter in vengeance because she looked like her mother who allegedly abandoned him.

Athough, he previously denied seeing his daughter nude, the defendant said during cross-examination that her clothes tore when she was fighting with him and he saw her breasts.

Showing the  defendant his statement to the police, Solarin requested that he should read  a portion aloud.

The portion of the statement said, “I beat my daughter last two weeks. As she was dragging with me, her dress tore, she was naked and I saw her breasts.”

Reacting to the statement, he said:  “I did not put my fingers in her private part to test her virginity. I did not tear her clothes.

“I do not understand my statement, I was close to fainting when the statement was written.”

Hiwever, the prosecutor said, “I put it to you that you sexually assaulted your daughter by putting your finger in her private part, you tore up her clothes because she refused to tell you her boyfriend.”

Justice Sybil Nwaka adjourned the case to Jan. 23, 2020, for adoption of final written addresses.

NAN reports that while giving evidence on March. 5, a medical doctor, Dr Alagbe Oyedeji, of the Mirabel Center (a sexual assault referral centre) narrated how Idoko  allegedly sexually assaulted his daughter under the guise of testing her virginity.

He had said: “The client declared in her history that her father though not married to her mother, had her and her male sibling living with him. Her ordeal started in 2016, a year before she was referred to the Mirabel Center.

“She said her father came home and said that he heard from people that she was no longer a virgin and he needed to test her to see if it was true.

“He forced her to undress and said he would use his finger to test her; the client was reluctant; he scolded her and eventually did it with his fingers.

“He also said that he would use his penis to examine her but she refused; he beat her and  started torturing her in the home because she kept turning down his requests,” the doctor said.

Oyedeji had also said that he conducted physical and systemic findings on the child which revealed signs of physical and sexual abuse.

According to the prosecution, the defendant committed the offence of sexual assault by penetration between July and November 2017 at his residence in Oworoshoki, Lagos.

Edited by Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Driver raped employer’s daughter, witness tells court

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A medical doctor, Olusegun Bankole, on Thursday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that a 33-year-old driver, Francis Apai, raped his employer’s teenage daughter.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Bankole, who works at the Alimosho General Hospital in Lagos, testified at the trial of Apai for sexual assault.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Ms M. I. Oshodi, Bankola said that on Nov. 19, 2014, the day of the alleged assault, the 18-year-old complainant (name withheld) was accompanied into the emergency ward of the hospital by a group of people.

“She was said to have been raped by an adult male who she later identified as her parent’s driver.

“The history we got is that the man forcefully dragged her into a room and choked her in the neck with his hands.

“He overpowered her while she was struggling with him, and penetrated her vagina with his penis,” he said.

The doctor said that he made the findings  when he examined the complainant.

” We found a young girl with multiple bruises around her neck and around her two hands.

“We did a vaginal examination in her and it revealed that she had normal female genitalia with multiple bruises around her vulva and a freshly broken hymen,” he said.

The witness said that the complainant underwent some medical examinations and treatments to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Bankole testified that on request, he issued a medical report on the alleged victim to the police.

While being cross-examined by defence counsel, Mr Qudus Mumuni, the doctor said that based on the complainant’s history and physical examination, her hymen was ruptured by a penis.

He also said that his name and signature was on the medical report and that he did not see the defendant when the complainant was brought to the hospital.

According to the prosecution, Apai committed the offence on Nov. 19, 2014, in the complainant’s home in Lagos.

“The alleged  offence contravenes Section 259 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011,” Oshodi said.

Justice Sherifat Solebo adjourned the case to Jan. 7 for continuation of trial.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Dealers docked for allegedly receiving stolen car worth N3.5m

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Two car dealers, Chidiebere Chrysller and Nnamdi Ogbuehi, on Thursday appeared before an Ogudu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly receiving a stolen vehicle worth N3.5 million.

Chrysler, 28, and Nnamdi, 36, both residents of Alapere, Ketu, Lagos, were arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on receiving stolen property.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Donjour Perezi, told the court that the defendants committed the offences in April at Alausa Close, Off Emmanuel Street, Alapere, Ketu, Lagos.

Perezi said that the defendants and an accomplice, Pascal Ogbuehi, still at large, fraudulently obtained a red Honda Accord from the complainant, Mr Chinedu Anukem.

“Chrysller received the said Honda Accord  valued at N3.5 million from Paschal Ogbuehi,” he said.

The prosecutor said that the car belonged to the complainant, Mr Chinedu Anukem, adding that the defendants knew that the car was stolen.

“The defendants were apprehended by the police while trying to sell the car,” he said.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 94, 328 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 328 provides for a seven-year jail term for receiving stolen property.

Magistrate Bukola Mogaji granted each of the defendants N300,000 bail with two sureties each in like sum.

She adjourned the case until Dec. 16, for mention.

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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