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Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

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Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

The Police on Tuesday, arraigned a businessman, Fatal Olatunde,  at an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, for alleged stealing of phones valued at N3.5 million.

The defendant is also standing trial for alleged stealing of N840,000 cash.

Olatunde, who resides at Ikorodu, Lagos State was arraigned on a six- count charge of conspiracy, breach of peace, threatening violence, forceful ejection, nuisance, and stealing.

The Prosecution Counsel, Insp. Lucky Ihiehie, told the court that the defendant and others at large committed the offences on Aug. 8, 2020 at Agura Gberigbe, Ikorodu, Lagos State.

Ihiehie said the defendant conducted himself in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by forcefully entering a shop belonging to Mr Joseph Nwafor and carting away goods and cash.

“The defendant, in charge of the complainant’s shop, hired some boys that stormed and forcefully ejected him out of his rented shop.

Also read: Court remands man for allegedly stealing 8 copies of The Holy Qur’an

“In the process, different phones valued at N3.5 million and N840,000 cash which was the proceeds for the day, were stolen,’’ he said.

The prosecutor said the defendant threatened to be violent and he locked up the complainant’s shop with his own keys without following the legal process.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 52, 56(1), 157(e),168, 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The newsmen report that Section 52 prescribes two years’ jail term for breach of peace, while Section 287prescribes three years for stealing.

Following his plea of not guilty, Magistrate Mrs O.A Layinka, released the defendant on bail of N250,000 with two sureties in like sum.

Layinka said the sureties should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

The magistrate adjourned the case until Sept. 14 for further hearing.

 

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Alleged N150m Bribe: Court Admits Documents In Evidence Against Oil Magnate, Akindele

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Alleged N150m Bribe: Court Admits Documents In Evidence Against Oil Magnate, Akindele

…Akindele is standing trial on one-count charge of bribing police official to compromise investigation

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Wednesday, admitted three documents in evidence in the bribery trial of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Duport Midstream Company Limited, Mr Akintoye Akindele.

Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi admitted the documents and marked them as exhibits accordingly during the cross-examination of the 1st prosecution witness (PW1), Mr Ibrahim Ezekiel Sini, a Superintendent of Police (SP).

The documents included a petition to the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police by Summit Oil International Ltd, the original statement made by Akindele to the police and a motion filed before a Nasarawa State High Court.

They were admitted and marked as Exhibits A2, A3 and A4, respectively.

The judge had, on Feb. 28, adjourned for the continuation of cross-examination of SP Sini by the defendant (Akindele)’s lawyer, Mrs Funmi Quadri, SAN.

 Akindele is standing trial on a one-count charge of bribing a police official in order to compromise his investigation on the alleged diversion of the sum of $5,636,397.01, belonging to Summit Oil International Ltd.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Quadri confronted the witness with the petition showing that the indebtedness of her client, according to the petitioner, is $5.6 million and N73 million.

While the $5.6 million is said to be the debt owed, the N73 million is said to be reimbursement expenses.

The senior lawyer alleged that while in custody, Sini and his team had several meetings with the defendant and on one of the occasions, Akindele was asked how he intended to liquidate his debt to Summit Oil.

But the witnesses said: “I can’t remember.”

Sini also denied that the defendant used a computer belonging to the police to write a letter undertaking to repay the debt.

Quadri then went ahead to tender the original statement Akindele made to the I-G, wherein the defendant claimed that the money he had transferred to an account provided by Sini was to demonstrate his willingness to pay part of the $5.6 million and N73 million owed the petitioner (Summit Oil International Ltd).

She said Akindele in the statement said, “the N50 million he transferred to Blissdon Nigeria Ltd, an account said to have been provided by Sini, was to demonstrate his willingness to pay the alleged debt of $5.6 million and N73 million.”

Meanwhile, Sini denied that the police had set up a different panel to investigate the alleged N50 million bribe because he was found complicit.

According to the witness, since he was the one accusing Akindele of bribery, “we can not be a judge in our case”.

At the end of cross-examination, Justice Osho-Adebiyi, adjourned to April 18 for the police to call their next witness.

In the charge marked: CR/595/2023, count one alleged that between 5th and 9th August 2023 in Abuja, Akindele, while being investigated by SP Sini and his team on a petition submitted by Summit Oil International Ltd on allegation of diversion of the sum of debt of USD 5,636,397.01 Million and N73,543,763.25, offered gratification of N150 million.

Akindele was alleged to have made a partial payment of N50 million to Sini, a public servant, to allow him to escape abroad and to write a report in his favour.

The offence is punishable under Section 118 of the Penal Code Law.

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Bello vs EFCC: Confusion As 2 High Courts Issue Contrasting Orders

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Bello vs EFCC: Confusion As 2 High Courts Issue Contrasting Orders

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the immediate arrest of the former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of the commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I. A. Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s fundamental human rights “is null and void”.

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant to bring him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to the 18th day of April 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

The EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant to bring him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

Reports came in that the conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Ndifon: Suspended UNICAL Prof Asks Court To Quash Charge Against Him

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Ndifon: Suspended UNICAL Prof Asks Court To Quash Charge Against Him

Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), has prayed the Federal High Court, Abuja to quash the sexual harassment charge against him.

Ndifon, who told Justice James Omotosho in a further affidavit filed by his lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, insisted that Osuobeni Akponimisingha, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)’s counsel handling the case, was not qualified to practise as a lawyer.

He restated that Akponimisingha’s name is allegedly not on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria pursuant to Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act.

The affidavit further deposed to by Ndifon’s co-defendant, Sunny Anyanwu, was in response to the ICPC lawyer’s counter affidavit filed against their motion on notice.

The suspended dean, in the earlier motion dated and filed March 15, had told the court that the amended charge was incompetent as a result of the disputed identity of the anti-graft agency’s lawyer.

He said the development had robbed the court of its jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He, therefore, prayed the court to quash the four-count charge against him and his co-defendant, Mr Sunny Anyanwu.

Akponimisingha, in his counter affidavit dated March 20, accused the suspended dean and his legal team of being jealous of his academic qualifications.

The lawyer, who attached his Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Practising Licence document dated 2016 with the counter affidavit, said he graduated from law school.

He said contrary to the defence argument, the appellation “Dr” added to his name was as a result of an additional academic qualification acquired by him after he had been called to the Bar as a legal practitioner.

He equally alleged that the names of the lead counsel to the defendants, Joe Agi, SAN and other senior advocates appearing with him in the criminal case, were not on roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria with the appendage of “SAN.”

He argued that the fact that the appellation “Dr” was added to his name did not make the amended charge liable to be struck out.

Akponimisingha said he was duly called to the Nigerian Bar and had been licensed to practise law in the country.

“That I know as a fact that justices presiding over cases in courts in Nigeria were called to the Bar only with their given names without the appellation ‘Hon. Justice.’

“Therefore, the appellation ‘Hon. Justice’ added to their names by reason of their appointment as judges does not render their judgments invalid because their names do not appear on the roll call of Legal Practitioners as ‘Hon. Justices.’

“The name Joe Odey Agi, SAN is not on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria. What exists on the roll is Agi Joseph Odey, year of call, 1985,” he said

Akponimisingha told the court that the present application by the defence was a delay tactic deployed to stall the smooth trial of the charge.

He urged the court to discount their plea.

But Ndifon, in a further affidavit deposed to by Anyanwu, a co-defendant, stated that contrary to Akponimisingha’s argument, the defence was not challenging the appellation “Dr” added to his name.

Rather, he said their contention was that the name “Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha is not on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria and that a search conducted on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria revealed that one Ekoi A. Osuobeni was called to the Bar in Nigeria in the year 2012.

“A copy of the computer print-out of the name of the said Ekoi A. Osuobeni from the Nigerian Bar Association Portal showing the names of Legal Practitioners on the roll in Nigeria as well as
the certificate of compliance is attached as Exhibits B and C.”

The suspended dean contended that there was a word difference between “Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha” and “Ekoi A. Osuobeni.”

According to him, both names are not the same person for a professional register sanctioned by law pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act.

He urged the court to strike out the suit in the interest of justice.

When the matter was called on Monday, the ICPC lawyer told Justice Omotosho that the defendant brought a letter stating that the learned silk in the matter was having another matter at the Supreme Court.

Fisong Fidelis, who appeared for the defence, confirmed filing the letter before the court.

Justice Omotosho, who expressed his displeasure about the way the matter had degenerated, said parties had left the main issue “and are now attacking their academic qualifications.”

“I owe a duty to this court to protect the integrity of the legal profession. I don’t like the way this matter is going,” the judge held.

The judge, therefore, directed the lawyers of the parties, including representatives of the Federation of International Women Lawyers and NBA, to meet with him in his chambers on Wednesday so they could take a position on the development.

Justice Omotosho consequently fixed April 19 to rule on Ndifon’s motion seeking an order allowing the defendants to have an independent forensic examiner to look at some of the exhibits tendered by the ICPC.

Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on the allegation that he called TKJ, the star witness, on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.

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