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Court discharges, acquits Delta Sen. Nwaoboshi of N322m laundering charge

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Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi
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Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday discharged and acquitted a Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi, charged with laundering N322 million.

Aneke held that the case of the prosecution collapsed when it failed to call vital witnesses and lead concrete evidence to establish its allegations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nwaoboshi, who represents Delta North on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, was arraigned in 2018, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on two counts of money laundering.

Charged along with the senator were two companies – Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd. and Suiming Electrical Ltd.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail.

Trial commenced before Justice Mohammed Idris on April 25, 2015, but following the elevation of Idris to the Court of Appeal in June 2018, the case began afresh on Oct. 5, 2018 before Aneke.

The EFCC said that Nwaoboshi committed the offences in May and June 2014, in Lagos State.

He was alleged to have acquired a property described as Guinea House on Marine Road in Apapa, Lagos, for the sum of N805 million.

The prosecution said that N322 million of the purchase sum formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.

It said that the sum was transferred to vendors by order of Suiming Electrical Ltd.

The prosecution filed its written addresses on Jan. 21, 2021, while the defendants respectively filed their written addresses on Feb. 3 and Feb. 9, 2021.

Delivering judgement on Friday, Aneke first read out counts of the charge for which the defendants were charged, and then reviewed evidence as tendered by witnesses, as well as evaluated essential ingredients of the counts.

He held that the evidence led by the First Prosecution Witness (PW1), Prince Kpokpogri, was based on a call from an anonymous person, adding that he did not tender the documents supplied to him by the said anonymous person who was not called as a witness to testify.

The judge held that the evidence of the first prosecution witness could therefore only qualify as hearsay.

“Pw 2 , Abubakar, works with Nexim Bank and the summary of his evidence was that the sum of N1.2 billon was granted to the third defendant on his application for a period of five years with interest.

“That the capital which is N1.2 billion has been repayed, while over N700 million interest payed and only about N24 million is outstanding on the said loan.

“He said that at the time of his testimony, the tenure of the loan had not expired.

“The conclusion of his evidence was that the loan was regularly and properly granted to the defendant; he tendered Exhibit A1 to A 27,” the judge said.

He held that the evidence of PW2 had high probative value.

Aneke held that a computer-generated statement of account sought to be tendered in evidence by PW3, Eyitayo Moigbemtere, was rejected on grounds that it did not comply with Section 84 of the Evidence Act.

He noted that the court also rejected the admissibility of an account opening document of the third defendant which was sought to be tendered by PW3.

“The court held that although the evidence of PW3 was not controverted, the inadmissibility of the account opening document made it impossible for the charge to be proved.

“PW4, Mc Davies Stanley, an investigating officer with the EFCC, investigated the case on receipt of a petition written by PW1.

“All he did was to write letters to several organisations and agencies, and on getting their responses, he analysed them and wrote a report which he submitted to the Legal Department of the EFCC.

“He tendered some of the responses he received as Exhibits E, E1, F, F1, G and H,” the judge said.

He held that Exhibit G, an extra-judicial statement of the first defendant, was useless and could not be tendered before the court.

“In criminal law, an extra-judicial statement of a person charged with a crime can be used as a confession if he agrees that he committed the crime.

“An extra-judicial statement which does not amount to a confession can never be regarded as evidence of a person charged with a crime,” he said.

He said that none of the ingredients of the counts of the charge was proved by prosecution.

“How can they be proved when the statement of account of the third defendant was tendered and rejected in evidence?” he asked.

The court held that rejection of the said statement of account meant that the said N322 million could not be proved.

He added that the bank in question was not called as a witness.

The judge held that it was the statement of account of the third defendant that would show that, apart from the loan of N1.2 billion from Nexim Bank, there was no other money or sufficient money in the account of third defendant to pay the sum of N322 million to prove that the N322 million was paid from N1.2 billion and not from any other money belonging to third defendant.

Aneke consequently held that none of the elements of count one had been proved.

He said that this failure collapsed the case of the prosecution.

“In count two, the ingredients of count one must first be proved before the defendant can be found guilty.

“The result is that the prosecution’s case is dismissed and all the defendant are discharged and acquitted,” he held.

NAN reports that during trial, the prosecution called four witnesses while defence called no witnesses but rested its case on the ability of prosecution to establish the allegations. (NAN)

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Judiciary

Alleged Assault: CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar Fails In Bid To Stop Senate Probe

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Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar
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A Federal High Court in Abuja says the Nigerian Senate has the power to investigate Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar over the case of an alleged assault on a security guard at a shopping mall in Abuja.

Delivering Judgement on Tuesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said the CCT boss failed to display high moral public standards by his conduct and with the Code of Conduct Bureau being a product of an Act ratified by the National Assembly, it, therefore, has powers to investigate his conduct.

The court subsequently dismissed the suit by Mr Umar seeking to stop his investigation by the Senate Committee Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, for lacking in merit.

The CCT Chairman had challenged among other things, the powers of the Senate to investigate him in an alleged assault perpetrated against a security guard at Banex Plaza in Abuja.

He is also asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate, its members, and agents from conducting or continuing to conduct investigations into the allegations of assault leveled against him via a petition submitted to the Senate.

Specifically, the plaintiff wants the court to determine whether the alleged case of assault which took place at Banex plaza in Abuja on March 29, 2021, formed part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate, as it’s not subject to the provision of section 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution.

The victim, Clement Sargwak, had alleged that he was assaulted by the CCT Chairman and a policeman attached to him in March 2021 at the popular Banex plaza Abuja where he worked as a security guard.

According to Sargwak, the CCT boss assaulted him while undergoing his lawful activities after he informed him that his car was wrongly parked.

The victim, therefore, asked the Senate to ensure justice is done over his case.

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Judiciary

Court dissolves marriage over sexual denial by wife

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Symbol of Justice
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An Igando Customary Court on Tuesday dissolved the union between Mr Taofeek Muritala and Mrs Jelilat Muritala on grounds of frequent fighting and lack of love.

The petitioner, Mr Muritala, a resident of No.11, Muritala Taofeek St.,  White Sand area of Isheri in Lagos State, had approached the court on Dec. 2, 2021 seeking  the dissolution of his 10-year-old marriage to his wife.

He alleged  that  his wife was very troublesome, being too heady and not taking care of their children.

“Our problem started in 2002 when I was a motorcycle operator and my wife just delivered a baby.

Then, I used to give her N100 as daily allowance, but for some time I could not meet up because I had to also deliver money to the owner of the motorcycle I was riding.

” One day, she calculated all the money I owed her  which  she said amounted to N900.  On that day,  she held on to my shirt, fought me and insisted that I must give her the money or  else that  I would not leave the house.

“It was the neighbours that had to intervene and in the process, she tore my cloths.

“She would always leave the house and only to return later  whenever she felt like.

Also,  she dislikes my mother, alleging that my mother used to complain that the pieces of  meat she put in the pot of soup were always  too big among other flimsy reasons.

“Each time my mother was  visiting us,  my wife would fight her. Because of the incessant quarrels between them,  I had to advise my mother not to visit again.

” Also,  I’m  the one who is always taking  our children to school.  She does not have the time to take care of them; she does only what pleases her, she’s such a hooligan.

“Anytime there was a fight between us, she would not  hesitate to draw out a knife or break bottles,” he said.

The petitioner also told the court that his wife would  not take to corrections and was fond of  disrespecting  his family, hence, there is  no more love between them.

He then urged the court to grant him a divorce from his wife.

The respondent, Mrs  Jelilat  Muritala, a caterer and a resident of the same address as her husband, countered all that her husband said, but told the court that they used to  quarrel  because of sex.

“Our fight is simply because of sex, he demands sex everyday and I’m tired of it.

Also, it is not true that I don’t take care of the children, I always do. He only takes them to school since he operates a motorcycle.

“I do not also fight my mother-in-law, but there is nothing I do that pleases her. She complains about everything I do, but I have a cordial relationship with other  members of my husband’s  family.

“He said that  I used charm on him; that  is also a lie. When he was very sick, I took him to a  church where he was given blessed water which cured his illness, so how does that translate to charm?

“Although,  he claimed that it was not the water that healed him that it was the charcoal he took,” she said.

The respondent told the court that truly there was no more  love between them since her husband had married a second wife.

She added that she had moved on with her life.

The  President of the court, Mr Koledoye Adeniyi, in his judgment said that after listening to both  sides, the respondent was not submissive enough and to make matters worse, they  dragged their  children into their rift.

He said that it was wrong for the wife to have denied her husband sex even though he was demanding it daily, adding that it was part of what contributed to the failure of the marriage.

According to the  president, the woman’s  act of denying her husband sex was what pushed him into marrying another woman to satisfy his sexual urge.

“In this view,  the marriage has broken down irretrievably and therefore the dissolution of their marriage succeeds ,” he said.

He ordered the petitioner to give the respondent the sum of N200,000 as severance allowance and to also pay the sum of N150,000 to assist the respondent to secure an accommodation where should would relocate to.

He also ordered the petitioner to take good care of the younger children in his care and be responsible for the education of the grown up children.

He said that any violation of the judgment would  be regarded as contempt  of the court and  would attract six months’ imprisonment without an option of fine.

 

(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

5 car dealers docked for allegedly violating EFCC regulations

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EFCC
EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa and Logo
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A Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto has adjourned hearing in the case of five car dealers standing trial for allegedly violating Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regulations.

The defendants are: Shehu Ahmad, Shehu Mariga, Aliyu Dauda, Tukur Shehu and Umaru Yabo.

The defendants were arraigned along with their companies, Ijabah Motors, Jangwarzo General Motors, KGN Gumbi Motors, Daraja Motors 2 and Gamji Motors.

They were accused of allegedly failing to submit declaration of activities, in line with extant regulations on customer identification and rendition of returns on transactions to the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML).

The defendants had pleaded guilty when case was first mentioned on March 17.

The parties were, however, asked to prove and defend their case, in the interest of justice.

At Thursday’s sitting, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Sa’ad Hannafi, led a witness, Ahmad Bello, an EFCC official who testified on non-compliance by the defendants and tendered exhibits, which were admitted by the court.

The trial judge, Justice James Omotosho, adjourned the case till May 11 for prosecution and defence counsel to adopt their written addresses.

Omotosho ordered the defendants to continue with the bail earlier admitted by the court.

 

 

NAN

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