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Asset declaration: Court dismisses application for issuance of bench warrant against Ekweremadu

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'Armed men invade' Ekweremadu's home -- Aide

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday turned down application for a bench warrant to be issued against the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, following his absence in court to stand trial for non-asset declaration charges.

The charges were brought against Mr Ekweremadu over his alleged refusal to declare his assets to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Assets.

In her ruling, Justice Binta Nyako, held that the action was hasty and cannot be justified.

Mrs Nyako said she was not unmindful of the fact that Mr Ekweremadu had earlier filed processes to challenge the jurisdiction of the court.

She said the defendant had also challenged the legal competence of the two-count criminal charge the panel preferred against him.

Mrs Nyako, also held that it was not necessary for the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendant.

The judge then adjourned the matter until February 26, 2019, to hear Mr Ekweremadu’s preliminary objections.

Celsius Ukpong, counsel to the panel had argued that Mr Ekweremadu ought to have physically appeared before the court to either enter his plea to the charge, or to query the validity of his trial.

He informed the court that the defendant was duly served with all processes in the charge that was entered against him on May 11.

The prosecution accused Mr Ekweremadu of deliberately making himself unavailable in court so as to frustrate his trial.

He, therefore, applied for an order of court to compel security agencies to arrest and produce him before the court for arraignment.

However, Adegboyega Awomolo, (SAN), counsel to the defendant prayed the court to dismiss the motion which he described as “highly un-meritorious.’’

Mr Awomolo said it was more “honourable’’ for the panel to withdraw the charge since the Court of Appeal had declared its operations as illegal.

Mr Awomolo tendered a copy of the appellate court’s judgment that was delivered on November 5.

He further said the higher court made it known that the panel had no prosecutorial power under the law.

The panel had in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018, alleged that Mr Ekweremadu refused to declare his assets in a manner it prescribed for him.

It also alleged that the defendant ignored several invitations extended to him to “clarify issues in the allegation of excessive wealth or suspicious assets.”

Nonetheless, the appellate court, in its judgment in a suit marked CA/A/278/2018, filed by Ibrahim Tumsah held that the penal lacked prosecutorial powers.

Mr Tumsah, a former Director in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, instituted the appeal after the Federal High, Court in Abuja permitted his assets to be seized by the panel.

(NAN)

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OAU Professor Allegedly Involved In Sex-For-Marks Scandal To Be Arraigned By ICPC

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is set to arraign a former lecturer of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Richard Iyiola Akindele, at the Federal High Court, Osogbo.

Mr Akindele was accused of demanding sex from one of his students, Ms. Monica Osagie, in order to upgrade her academic result.

In a statement by the spokesman of the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa,Professor Akindele will be docked on Monday 19th November 2018, on a 3-count charge having been accused of using his position as a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting to demand for sexual benefit from a student and fraudulently upgrade her result in Research Method course which she supposedly failed in 2017.

The Commission says that his actions were contrary to Sections 8 (1) (a) (ii), and 18 (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and are punishable under the same sections.

One of the counts reads, “That you, professor Akindele, on or about the 16th day of September, 2017 at Ile-Ife did corruptly ask for sexual benefits for yourself from Ms. Monica Osagie on account of favour to be afterwards shown to her by you in the discharge of your official duties as a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University, to wit; altering her academic grades in the course with code MBA 632- Research Method from fail to pass; and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 8(1)(a)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

The 57-year-old professor has asked for plea-bargain having admitted guilt. He also cited ill-health as a factor that may make him unable to stand the rigours of prison life, notifying the Commission through his lawyer, Omotayo Alade-Fawole.

He pleaded that his prayers for plea-bargain be considered, more so as he was already serving punishment for his offence having been sacked by the university.

Ms. Osagie had earlier expressed a lack of confidence in the capacity of ICPC to give her a fair hearing.
According to the commission, the public announcement of the professors impending arraignment is in fulfillment of its promise to the public to avail them of the outcome of the investigation in due time.

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Traditional Ruler Arrested Over Alleged N15.5m Fraud

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What we're doing to rescue kidnapped party chairman, senatorial candidate, others – Police

THE traditional ruler of Ferowa village in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, Chief Muyideen Folorunso, has been arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command over an alleged dubious land deal worth N15.5 million.

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement made available to TribuneOnline, said the arrest of the traditional ruler followed a petition written by the management of a real estate firm against the traditional ruler.

DSP Oyeyemi said the company approached the traditional ruler for the purchase of about 23 acres of land in his domain, which was negotiated for N15.5 million, and the company paid the amount to the suspect after showing them the land.

“Surprisingly, some months after the payment was made, the traditional ruler started selling the same portion of land to another set of people, and before the company knew what was going on, he had sold 17 acres out of the 23 acres.

“As a result of the petition, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, directed the officer in charge Public Complaints Bureau to look into the case and bring the suspect to book.

“The traditional ruler was subsequently arrested, and on interrogation, he admitted collecting the said amount of money from the complainant after showing them the land.

“He stated further that it was when he needed some money for his coronation that he was tempted to sell parts of the already sold land,” DSP Oyeyemi stated.
The police spokesperson said CP Iliyasu had ordered a thorough investigation into the case, and that the suspect would be arraigned in court in accordance with the anti-land grabbing laws of Ogun State.

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Court orders forfeiture of N300m bonds over Kanu’s absence

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Court remands man for allegedly slapping wife to death

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of the N300 million bail bonds by sureties to Nnamdi Kanu following their failure to produce him in court on Tuesday.

Justice Binta Nyako ordered that the money be deposited in the court’s bank account and not the Federal Givernment’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) before the next adjourned date on March 28, 2019.

The judge ruled that the sureties: Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; a Jewish priest, Immanuel Shalom, and an Abuja-based accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, would be given six months to argue their applications challenging the forfeiture.

However, the co-accused to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, and Chidiebere Onwudiwe were present as their trial on three count-charges bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and setting up illegal broadcast stations, continued.

Earlier, prosecution counsel Suleiman Labaran asked the court to order the sureties to show cause why the N100m bail bond for each of the them should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

But counsel to Abaribe, Chukwu Machukwu-Ume (SAN) said the lawmaker went on an oversight function with the Senate Committee on Niger Delta.

Justice Binta Nyako threatened to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Abaribe and Uchendu, who was said to be ill. Shalom was present in court.

The sureties had filed separate applications asking the court to stop their suretyship on the ground that they can no longer perform that responsibility because of some supervening and exceptional circumstances.

 

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