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Alleged N3bn loan diversion: change in counsel stalls ‘whistleblower’s trial

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By Gistflash News

Sept 10, 2021

The change in defence counsel to John Idumange, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion Agriculture loan by government officials was on Friday stalled in a Yenagoa High Court.

When the case was called, a new counsel, Ms Ebiye Enegi who announced her appearance for Idumange prayed the court to grant a short adjournment to enable her study the case file.

She apologised for the absence of Idumange, a former General Manager of Radio Bayelsa  in court , adding that the defendant was currently on admission in a hospital .

The prosecution led by Mrs Iyobosa Apulu, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Bayelsa, did not object to the adjournment.

“We do not have any objection to this request for adjournment  based on a new lawyer taking over, however, it should be noted that this is one adjournment, too many in this case.

“The reasons have ranged from accident to Ill health without any concrete evidence before the court, there is no detail of how the accident happened or the nature of the sickness.

”We do hope that the new defence counsel will do her utmost best and bring the defendant to court to take his plea,” Iyobosa said.

Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah subsequently adjourned the matter until Sept. 15.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa, Biriyai Sambo, (SAN) filed a suit against Idumange for misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Magistrates’ Court had on March 11 in Yenagoa, ordered Idumange’s detention for 30 days, pending police investigation.

Idumange, who alleged that officials of Bayelsa government had diverted a N3 billion Agric loan and subsequently submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was arrested on March 10.

Some officials of the state government had reported to the police that Idumange had made seditious publications that maligned their persons in his claims.

However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, granted bail to Idumange, who was also an aide on Research and Documentation and later Social Media to former Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson.

NAN reports that the case, earlier assigned to Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro, was reassigned to Justice Uzakah.

NAN

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Judiciary

Court fixes Nov. 17 suit challenging jurisdiction in Okorocha’s suit against Imo Govt

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed Nov. 17 to hear application challenging its jurisdiction in the suit filed by former Imo Gov., Rochas Okorocha, against the state government and others.
Justice Mohammed fixed the date after Okorochas’ counsel,  Oba Maduabuchi, SAN, moved for an adjournment on the ground that the head of the staff in his chamber, Emeka Okoye, died recently. 
 
The prayer for adjournment was not opposed by counsel to defendants in the suit, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okorocha, Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/558/2020 filed on May 28, 2020, had urged the court to restrain the EFCC and others from probing him.
While the EFCC is the 1st respondent, the 2nd to 48th respondents are the Attorney General (AG) of Imo and members of the seven panels set up to probe previous administrations in the state.
NAN also reports that Okorocha had, on June 29, urged the court to make an order setting aside the seizure and sealing of some of his property by the state government.
Okorocha also asked the court to restrain the defendants from investigating him or implementing the recommendations of the seven panels set up to probe him while he served as the state governor between June 2006 and May 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Meanwhile Eze Duri-Ihuoma, SAN, who is 44th defendant and appearing for himself in the matter, told the newsmen shortly after the case was adjourned that the suit filed by Okorocha did not disclose any reasonable cause of action, hence, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it.
According to him, the subject matter jurisdiction is not there in the suit and that the application is alien to the law.
“The applicant is claiming that because the EFCC is investigating him, the state government should fold his hands and not probe him.
“That is alien. Some of us had also argued that the former governor was simply saying, ‘extend my immunity.’
“But his immunity ended when he left office and he wants that immunity extended,” he said
The lawyer said he was hopeful that the suit would be dismissed because it lacked merit.
NAN
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Judiciary

Love scam: Court orders forfeiture of 1 iPhones, car, $1,500 to FG

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By Gistflash News

Sept 21, 2021

A Kwara state High Court on Tuesday ordered the forfeiture of one iPhone, 1,500 dollars and vehicle to the Federal Government coffers.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Tunde Olagunju, Hassan Olanrewaju, 29, and Ojo  Adewale, a Bricklayer with crime bordering on love scam and cybercrimes.

Delivering judgment, Justice Sikiru Oyinloye said:”I have carefully considered the facts and circumstances of the matter, most especially the charges.

“I have also considered the plea of guilt entered by the defendants, evidence tendered without objection and the confessional statements of the defendants.

“There is no justiciable reason for the court to free the defendants off the hook.

“In the circumstance, the court finds the defendants guilty of the offence,” he said.

Oyinloye sentenced Olagunju to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N650,000.

Similarly, the judge sentenced Olanrewaju to one year imprisonment on count one, with an option of fine of N250,000 and another one year on count two with the same option of fine.

“The custodial sentences will run concurrently. But if the convict prefers the option of fine, he shall pay the fine of N500,0000.

The court also ordered the forfeiture of the defendant’s Silver color Toyota Camry Car, 2009 Model, with registration number LSR 431 GV and Gold Iphone 12 pro and 200 dollars which he acquired with the proceed of unlawful activities to the federal government.

Also, Adewale was sentenced to one year imprisonment with option of fine of N300,000.

The judge said that the convict should forfeit the Iphone XR, recovered from him, at the point of arrest to the federal government.

NAN

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Judiciary

My husband beats me, says I eat too much – Woman tells court

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By Gistflash News

Sept 20, 2021

A 23-year-old woman, Firdausi Sulaiman on Monday dragged her husband, Haruna Haruna, before a Sharia Court sitting in Magajin Gari, Kaduna State, seeking divorce on grounds that he beats her and says she eats too much.

In her petition, Suleiman, who lives in Rigasa in Kaduna, also told the court that her husband, Haruna, locks up the kitchen in the night.

”In our seven years of marriage, I have not spent a complete year  with out him sending me back to my parents house.

“I was forced into marrying Haruna when I was 16 by my father.

”He banned me from receiving visitors in our marital house. He also beats me.

”When I got fed up, my parents got tom know about what I have going through and reported the matter to his mother, His mother told me that he was possessed by evil spirit,” she said.

She prayed the court to terminate the marriage and give her custody of their one daughter.

In his defence, Haruna, a civil engineer through his counsel, M. K Mustapha,  said his client is mentally okay and is  not possessed.

”My client doesn’t look like someone who has evil spirits or has mental problems. In fact, he is currently in Katsina State executing some projects”, he said.

The Judge, Nuhu Falalu, after listening to both parties, adjourned the case until Oct. 4.

He ordered Haruna’s counsel to invite the couple’s parents or guardians to explore an amicable solution.

NAN

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