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Court orders forfeiture of internet fraudsters’ three duplexes, 200 million, luxury cars

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The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has ordered the permanent forfeiture of choice assets retrieved from two convicted internet scammers to the federal government.

A statement issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the trial judge, Oluwatoyin Taiwo, issued the order of forfeiture in her judgement convicting -Tobilola Bakare and Alimi Sikiru – of fraud on Monday.

EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who signed the statement, said both men pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud,

Listed as part of the forfeited assets are the sums of N196.7 million and N7million totalling about N203.7 million in bank accounts.

They also include: two vehicles – a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020 – both of which are said to be valued at N30million.

The rest of the forfeited assets are three houses located in the upscale axis of Lekki, Lagos State.

One of the houses is a five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos.

Another is a four-bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos.

The third house is another four-bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos.

EFCC which successfully prosecuted the defendants said the three duplexes are valued at 230 Million.

The defendants “confessed to involvement in cybercrime,” the statement said in part.

It added that while Mr Bakare, 27, an indigene of Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, confessed to involvement in Business Email Compromise (BEC) between 2009 and 2020, hacking into different companies’ email accounts outside.
TEXEM

EFCC said he hacked into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.

The second defendant, in his statement to the commission , was said to have admitted that the majority of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant.

“The fraudsters gave up the assets as they could not give satisfactory explanation of the funds and properties linked to them,” the statement added.

They were subsequently arraigned before Mrs Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on amended five counts of conspiracy and retaining stolen property, offences said to be contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.

Delivering judgment, Mrs Taiwo noted that the action of the defendants was “responsible for giving Nigeria a bad image globally, whereby the average Nigerian is looked upon as being untrustworthy and fraudulent.”

She convicted and sentenced Mr Bakare to three years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the option of fine of N3m (Three Million Naira).

She also convicted and sentenced Mr Sikiru to three years imprisonment on counts 1 and 5 with an option of fine of N1 million (One Million Naira).

 

 

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Judiciary

27 Rivers Assembly Lawmakers Dump PDP For APC

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Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike
Rivers State Assembly Complex. Insets: Governor Siminalayi Fubara (L) with FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike
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The Current political drama in Rivers State has taken a new turn as 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A member of the Assembly, Enemi George, confirmed to Channels Television that the 27 lawmakers were under the leadership of Martin Amaewhule.

He said the decision was taken during their sitting on Monday morning.

For weeks, Amaewhule and another member, Edison Ehie, have been embroiled in a Speakership tussle. Amaewhule is believed to be loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike while Ehie is known to be in the camp of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The Assembly under Amaewhule had in October served an impeachment notice on the governor and removed Ehie as the House leader. However, some members of the Assembly loyal to Fubara immediately impeached Amaewhule and made Ehie the new Speaker.

The crisis in the 32-member Assembly had begun as a result of a rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Though the two politicians have both attended same public events in the last few weeks and all seemed to have been settled but with Monday’s defection of 27 lawmakers from the PDP to the APC, more drama might unfold in the state’s political arena.

Meanwhile, some political players from other parties over the weekend announced their defection to the PDP.

Leading the defectors from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the APC were the deputy governorship candidate of the SDP in the 2023 election, Patricia Ogbonnaya; and former Ahoada-West Chairman, Karibo Wilson.

They decamped alongside their supporters and other party excos.

The politicians dumped their former parties to pitch tent with the PDP group loyal to Fubara.

Also in attendance were some of the Ehie-led group of lawmakers, with the member representing Ahoada West, Goodboy Sokari representing the governor alongside Oko Jumbo from Bonny Constituency.

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Judiciary

NJC Recommends Appointment Of 11 Supreme Court Justices

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Entry Point to Supreme Court Complex Abuja
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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the appointment of 11 justices to the Supreme Court.

A statement by the apex court’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, said the recommendation was made at the 104th meeting of the council in Abuja on Wednesday.

The recommended candidates would be sworn-in after the approval of their recommendation by President Bola Tinubu and the subsequent confirmation of their appointment by the Senate.

With this appointment, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as envisaged by the Constitution.

Those recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court are:

Hon. Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey, OFR
Hon. Justice Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa
Hon. Justice Chioma Egondu Nwosu-Iheme
Hon. Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani
Hon. Justice Moore Aseimo A. Adumein
Hon. Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya
Hon. Justice Stephen Jonah Adah
Hon. Justice Habeeb Adewale O. Abiru
Hon. Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur
Hon. Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar
Hon. Justice Mohammed Baba Idris

The NJC at its last meeting for the year also recommended the appointment of Justice Mohammed Ramat to the Court of Appeal, as well as six heads of courts and 26 other judicial officers.

The various Heads of Court recommended would also be sworn-in upon the approval of their appointment by their various State Governors and subsequent confirmation of same by their respective State Houses of Assembly.

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Judiciary

CJN Urges Judges To Remain Fair In Judgements

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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola
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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has asked Judges to maintain the integrity that the Judiciary is known for and remain fair and firm in their Judgements.

The CJN was speaking at the opening of the special session of the 2023/2024 Legal year and Swearing-in of 58 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria In Abuja.

Ariwoola added that he expects every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the bar, and discharge all their judicial functions with all the humility at your command.

While pledging to safeguard the rule of law, the holistic independence of the judiciary and the trust and confidence of the public, the CJN further reiterated the determination of the Judiciary, not to be overwhelmed by the sentiments of the public in their decisions.

He stated that the law remained the law, no matter whose interest was involved.

He charged them that In all they do, as interpreters of the law, they should endeavour to severe the strings of emotion from logic and assumption from fact.

The CJN further reminded the judges that it is necessary to have at the back of their minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before them.

He stated that the Judiciary, as it is today, is more deserving of public trust and confidence than ever before; and they are poised to reposition it for effective justice delivery to make the country a destination of note in the observance of the rule of law and tenets of Constitutionalism.

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