Appeal Court overturns order prohibiting Kashamu’s arrest

Kashamu

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Diviision, on Friday nullified a Federal High Court (FHC) ruling, prohibiting the arrest of Buruji Kashamu by Nigerian law enforcement agencies.
The appeal panel, led by Yargata Nimpar, declared that the Senator was not above the law and that he could be arrested if necessary.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, issued the prohibiting order in 2015 after the senator, representing the Ogun East Senatorial District, approached the court for enforcement of his fundamental rights over an alleged uncovered plot by the security agencies to abduct and extradite him to the United States.
Kashamu had earlier been declared wanted in the U.S. to come and answer for his alleged involvement in a drug-related case, although he had continued to deny the allegations, saying it was, at worse, a case of mistaken identity.
In May 2015, the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) laid siege to his Lagos residence for six days in a bid to arrest and send him to the U.S. to face the charges. The senator reportedly locked himself inside a toilet and refused to surrender himself to federal authorities for the whole period the seige lasted.
His lawyers successfully prevailed on Mr Abang to grant an order forbidding the NDLEA from carrying out the arrest. The agency subsequently withdrew its personnel, ending the six-day siege.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed several submissions before the FHC, seeking to arrest Mr Kashamu for extradition. But the attempts were frustrated by several injunctions granted by Mr Abang, prompting the AGF to seek redress at the Court of Appeal.
Kashamu had argued before the FHC that there were plots to arrest him and take him to the U.S. over a matter for which he had been cleared by judicial authorities in the United Kingdom between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But U.S. authorities insisted that Kashamu must come to the country to face drugs charges for which several of his alleged co-conspirators had been tried, convicted and jailed.
In 2016, a U.S. Court of Appeal in Chicago, Illinois, ruled that Kashamu must answer his drugs allegations in U.S. courts.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal ruled that the appeal has merit and set aside the order of perpetual injunction secured by Mr Kashamu.
Meanwhile, Kashamu swiftly reacted to the ruling on Friday afternoon through a statement by his media aide, Austin Oniyokor.
Below is the statement
PRESS STATEMENT
KASHAMU: I’VE NO EXTRADITION CASE IN COURT
My attention has been drawn to today’s judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos in an appeal filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) against the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court, Lagos, in my favour in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit.
Let me state from the outset that contrary to the wrong impression being created by a section of the media, there isn’t any extradition matter against me in any court in Nigeria or abroad. The illegal move surreptitiously introduced by the powers-that-beafter the 2015 abduction plot was exposed has been dismissed. That was in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015. The suit was dismissed on the 1st of July, 2015, for being an abuse of court process. Anything to the contrary is sheer mischief and over sensationalism by some reporters.
As journalists and judicial reporters who are expected to seek and report the truth at all times, they should know that there is NO extradition case against me anywhere. The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court in the fundamental human rights enforcement matter comprised in Suit No.FHC/L/CS/508/2015 which I had instituted in 2015 upon becoming aware of the surreptitious moves by certain persons to abduct me illegally and transport me to the U.S.A. without recourse to the rule of law.
In its judgment in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/508/2015,the Federal High Courtrestrained the Federal Government, its agents and agencies from abducting and forcibly transporting me to the United States of America over the same allegations that two British courts had adjudicated upon and found that to bea case of mistaken identity.
So, clearly what was appealed and decided upon by the Court of Appeal today has nothing to do with extradition. Rather, it was about the failed 2015 abduction.
Let me reiterate that in the face of the law, I do not have any extradition case to answer. Shun of all political manipulations and wizardry in Nigeria where political opponents pull down people to climb up the political ladder, I do not have any extradition case to answer.
I wish to say for the umpteenth time thatthere is no way any extradition proceedingscan be brought against me in the face of the law. What I have been fighting is the attempt to abduct or kidnap me in the guise of an extradition. It is a matter of public record that the purported extradition case that was filed against me in May 2015 was dismissed by the Federal High Court, Abuja,for being an illegality. It could not stand the test of the law. The case could not have seen the light of the day in Nigeria or any civilized country. That was the point the trial judge, the Honourable Justice Gabriel Kolawole made in the judgment when he described the incident as “a show of shame”. He found it incomprehensible that any government official or agency could want to take any step or collaborate with some foreign agents under any guise to perpetrate an illegality after several courts had given judgments against such an action.
So, in the face of the law, that case cannot be brought again! Any other talk or insinuations about a non-existent extradition only exists in the imagination of the mischief-makers. Therefore, there cannot be any other extradition but abduction and an illegality.
This is even more so when the judgment of the British Courts that found the allegation against me to be a case of mistaken identity was not appealed. If a court of competent jurisdiction has pronounced that I AM NOT the person who committed the offence and same verdict has been upheld by our own courts, there is no way this finding and pronouncements of the court can be jettisoned for illegality.
It is this illegality that the Senate frowned at in a resolution passed on the 11th of April, 2017.
The Senate through its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions resolved, “That the concerned agencies and authorities be advised to stop threatening or carrying out any activities to extradite Senator BurujiKashamu to the United States of America for prosecution, and that the courts be allowed to handle the various aspects of the case before them without any interference.”
Despite the fact that the British courts had exonerated me, I have an abiding faith and believe in our judiciary. We have many people in the judiciary from rich background and reputable families. They do not have to be judicial officers. But, today they are judicial officers because of the call of the Almighty Allah upon them. They sit in courts five days in a week, taking cases and writing judgments upon judgments in long hands. They deny themselves of the freedom that the rest of us enjoy. They cannot have friends and live their lives freely like the rest of us.
Invariably, by accepting to do the job most of us cannot do, they are sacrificing a lot. They belong in the class of some of the best and finest men and women that a society can ever ask for; powerful people yet self-effacing with the fear of God. They know that even when they are judges, they are still conscious of the fact that they are also accountable to the Almighty Allah who is the ultimate judge.
Despite the imperfections in the system, we should respect them because they represent the unseen hands and unheard voices contributing their quota to the development of our dear country. It is because of these unseen hand and unheard voices that Nigeria has not become a banana republic where injustice can be perpetrated with reckless abandon.
Mischief makers and blackmailers should stop all the noise-making. I do not have anything to do with crime and criminalities. Those peddling this lie are merely playing the devil’s advocate. But I take refuge in the Almighty Allah Subwana ta Allah. He is my shepherd and shield. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.
In the meantime, my lawyers have filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for injunction pending the determination of the appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria. And I trust that the apex court will do justice. I also wish to use this medium to appeal to all my associates, lovers, supporters and leaders to remain calm. The truth shall prevail over falsehood as light triumphs over darkness.
Signed
Senator Buruji Kashamu
Ogun East Senatorial District

Ex-banker bags 7 years for N700m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Friday, May 4, 2018, secured the conviction and sentencing of one Nsa Ayi, a former Relationship Officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, to seven years imprisonment before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos.

The convict, who was arraigned on February 26, 2018, on an 11-count charge bordering on fraudulent accounting to the tune of N700, 000, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira), was said to have connived with unknown parties to move funds using customers’ electronic instructions meant for investment in the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds,Treasury Bills and Fixed Deposits.

The defendant also allegedly altered instructions and falsified signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.

The money was allegedly transferred in tranches into his Guaranty Trust Bank account No. 0001600855 as well as his Zenith Bank account No. 1002771899.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February, 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”

Another count reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January, 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4, 277, 000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”

When the 11-count charge was read to him, he pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.

Counsel to the defendant, Robert Clarke, SAN, had pleaded with the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that he needed to take his son abroad for surgery.

However, the prosecution opposed the bail application, saying that “he is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.”

The prosecution had further said that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant him being flown abroad for treatment.

The judge, while denying him bail, said that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, he should not be pleading with the court to allow him travel out with his entire family only to treat his son.

The judge, therefore, remanded him in Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos .

During the proceedings on March 6, 2018, the defendant changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’.

In view of this, the prosecution reviewed the facts of the case and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence.

The judge subsequently convicted Ayi on all the charges and deferred sentencing to today.

Delivering her judgment today, the judge sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on each count of the charge.

The sentences are to run concurrently from the day of arrest.

The Judge further held that all properties traced to the defendant be confiscated till it amounts to the sum of N700million and should be restituted to the plaintiff, Coronation Merchant Bank.

Man remanded for attempt to rape 110-year-old woman

Rape

An Ado Magistrate’s Court in Ekiti State has ordered that a 56-year-old man, Abraham Benjamin, be remanded in prison custody for an allegedly attempt to rape a 110-year-old woman in her home.
The Magistrate, Mrs. Taiwo Ajibade, gave the order on Thursday when the accused was arraigned before her by a police prosecutor, Caleb Leranmo.
Ajibade, who adjourned the case to May 22 for mention, directed that the case file be duplicated and a copy be sent to the State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), for proper advice on the charges to be prefered against the middle-aged man.
Leranmo earlier had told the court that the accused committed the offence on April 30 at No. 12, Igbehin St., Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
According to him, the accused attempted to rape the 110-year-old woman in her home.
The offence, he added, contravened Section 359 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State 2012.

EFCC seeks final forfeiture of properties, N11.4m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, moved an application before Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.seeking a final forfeiture of some properties and the sum of N 11,040,000.00 (Eleven Million, Forty Thousand Naira) belonging to Capt. Olotu Olumuyiwa Morakinyo, Capt. Ebony Emmanuel Aneke and Lakewood Garden Ventures Limited to the Federal Government.
The first respondent, Morakinyo, served as Maritime Guard Commander, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, from January to September, 2013.
The second respondent, Aneke, served as Maritime Guard Commander, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, from September 2013 to December, 2014.
The third respondent, Lakewood, is a company jointly owned by the second respondent and his sister, Jimmie Aneke.
The judge had, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, ordered the interim forfeiture of the properties and the money.
In a 38-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Idris Adamu, an operative of the EFCC, the applicant had sought an interim order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government a three- bedroom terrace duplex at Lekki Gardens Limited Estate , Phase IV, Lekki-Ajah, Lagos recovered by the Commission from the first respondent.
The applicant had also sought an interim order forfeiting to the Federal Government another five-bedroom duplex at Lekki, Lagos State recovered by the Commission from the second respondent.
Also, the applicant had sought an interim order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government the sum of N11,040,000.00( Eleven Million Forty Thousand Naira) recovered by the Commission from the third respondent.
In his ruling , the judge had granted all the prayers sought by the applicant.
Justice Hassan had further directed the applicant to notify the respondents to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge had also directed the publication in any national newspaper of the interim order for the respondents or anyone who is interested in the properties to show cause within 14 days why the final order of the forfeiture of the properties as well as the money should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
At the resumed hearing today, counsel to the applicant, Rotimi Oyedepo, brought the application before the court for the final forfeiture, having published the interim forfeiture order in the The Nation newspaper of Thursday, April 19, 2018, as ordered by the court.
He also informed the court that the first and second respondents had been served the motion on notice and that they acknowledged service.
Oyedepo added that “The respondents were also informed that the case would be going on today. But they made no mention of their supposed absence in court today.”
Consequently , Justice Hassan adjourned the case to May 3, 2018 for ruling.
The Commission had launched investigation into the activities of the respondents, who were posted to NIMASA as Maritime Guard Commanders between September 2011 and September 2015, after receiving intelligence report of a case of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering against them.

Nnamdi Kanu in Abarabe’s custody, FG alleges

Nnamdi Kanu

The Federal Government has accused Enyinnaya abararabe, Senator representing Abia South in Nigeria’s Senate, of keeping the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in his custody to shield him from appearing in court to answer to charges against him.

Abaribe was among the South-East leaders, who stood surety for Kanu before he was released on bail on April 24, 2017.

The government’s allegation was contained in a reply to Abaribe’s application to the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking to discontinue from being the secessionist leader’s surety before the court.

Describing the application as belated, the FG, in its counter-affidavit and written address, insisted that the senator has to produce Kanu to enable him continue with his trial before the court.

It alleged that Abaribe was aware of Kanu’s consistent violation of bail conditions long before September 11 when he claimed to have lost contact with him.

“That it was at this point at violating the conditions at the bail that the senator surety ought to surrender the 1st defendant and or bring up this application; “That this application is belated and ill-timed;

“The applicant failed to apply to the court timeously, stating on oath that the defendant bound by recognizance to appear before this court had violated the bail condition given by this court,” the Federal Government submitted in its counter-affidavit.

Also, in the written address to back up the application, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, urged the court to sanction Abararabe for aiding and abating Kanu to flout the bail conditions and make him forfeit the bond he entered into.

“My lord, the surety has failed woefully to abide by the terms of the contract he entered into with this court and therefore cannot claim frustration

“We urge that the court hold, that surety having refused to do what he ought to have done pursuant to section 174 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 aided and abetted the 1st defendant in the flouting of the bail conditions of this court and should forfeit the bond he entered into.”

The Federal Government also denied the suspicion that Kanu was in the Nigerian Military’s custody, saying the military activities in Abia State tagged ‘Operation Python Dance II’ was a routine exercise in its second year carried out by the military at the end of every year.”

Kanu did not appear in court for the resumed sitting on October 17, but his co-defendants were present.

While reacting to Abaribe’s application to withdraw himself from among Kanu’s sureties in the case, the presiding judge said she would not hear the application until the missing defendant is produced.

She gave Abaribe and the two other sureties up till November 20 to produce the defendant in court.