The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Saturday, December 14, 2019, moved to the next level in fulfilling the terms of court sentence passed on former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
The anti-graft agency said it has begun marking properties belonging to him to seek reparation for the N7.65b stolen from the Abia state treasury..
The marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Kalu, who is the Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called 19 witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
The defendants, however, testified on behalf of themselves during the trial.
The parties, during the proceedings on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, adopted their final written addresses.
In his final submission, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants, saying the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.
Jacobs also urged the court to wind up the company as provided by the Law and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
However, the defence counsel urged the court to “dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge” their clients.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris found the defendants guilty on all counts.
Justice Idris held that the prosecution had established its case against the defendants.
The Judge further held that “the case was conclusively investigated, as the prosecution conducted thorough investigations.”
Justice Idris, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first defendant,
Kalu to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39.
The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.
Justice Idris further held that “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Buhari Not Interested In Fighting Insurgency — Galadima
Former spokesperson for the presidential council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari has no genuine interest in fighting insurgency and other security challenges facing the country. He said this is the main reason why he has refused to change the military service chiefs.
The elder statesman who made his feelings known during an interview with Daily Independent said it was a thing of worry that President Buhari refuses to replace the military service chiefs as they have obviously failed in their duties to the country.
Galadima went ahead to allege that the only reason he could deduce for President Buhari’s stubbornness on the issue is the fact that his personal Marabouts (spiritual guide) must have advised him against it despite the outcry of prominent Nigerians.
According to Galadima;
“I have spoken a lot on this matter in the last one year. I don’t think the President has genuine interest in fighting any insurgency. He is like a deaf and dumb”.
A lot of Nigerians have told him the proper thing to do but he doesn’t listen to advice. Whatever you tell him, he doesn’t accept. If not, any serious person who has the welfare and security of his people at heart, would have fired the entire Service Chiefs three, four years ago and bring another people who are capable of doing the job”.
But he will not do it because he must have been instructed by his Marabouts that he shouldn’t remove them for whatever reason. That is the only reason I can give for his not replacing them”.
So, we are just wasting our time by asking him to do so. The man is insensitive to people’s feelings, opinions and the advice well-meaning Nigerians are giving him”.
Bill To Strip The President Of Powers To Order For Forfeiture Of Assets Of Accused Persons, Scales Second Reading
A bill seeking to strip the president of the powers to order for forfeiture of assets of accused persons has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The discretionary power previously granted to the president to order for forfeiture of assets was on Thursday, July 2, transferred to the judges of a High Court.
The bill, which was passed in plenary, yesterday, July 2, is sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Wase and is entitled “a bill for an act to amend the currency conversion (freezing orders) act cap. C.43, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to give discretionary powers to the judge of a High Court, to order forfeiture of assets of affected persons and for related matters.”
Presenting the bill, the deputy speaker said, “It is noteworthy that the provision for forfeiture in our laws is geared towards ensuring that persons found guilty of offenses do not benefit from the proceeds of those offences.”
He said the discretionary power previously granted to the president by the Principal Act is hereby being replaced by that of a High Court Judge to bring it in line with the spirit of the constitution.
Wase argued that the provision, which vest in the president the power to order forfeiture of property (both movable or immovable) “is not in spirit with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and hence the need for its amendment.
“Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right of individuals to movable and immovable properties, which shall not be deprived except in specified circumstances which include the ‘imposition of penalties or forfeiture for the breach of any law whether under any civil process or after conviction for an offence’. (S. 44 (2) (c).
“Mr Speaker, colleagues, it is our submission that such breach, can only be determined by the judge of a court and should never be at the discretion of the president.
“It is further noted that the discretion of the president to order the forfeiture of property of an accused person can be subjected to executive abuses and recklessness. Section 9 in the Principal Act does not provide any mechanism (whether legal or administrative) through which the President may exercise this power. Instead the power is left solely at the discretion of the President.
“In a country that has witnessed reckless abuse of political and administrative powers, it will be dangerous to allow such unchecked arrogation of powers to determine the forfeiture of a person’s properties.”
“Such discretion to be exercised by the president can be contrary to the natural doctrine of fair trial as it amounts to the executive being a prosecutor and a ‘Judge’ in its own case.
“This negates the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) specifies the conditions under which a person can be deprived of movable or immovable properties and that is: ‘under any civil or after conviction for an offence’ after a fair trial.
“The president cannot therefore, usurp the powers of the courts for such will run foul of the doctrine of Separation of Powers.
“Vesting in the president the power to make forfeiture order smack of the era of military dictatorship where the Head of State and Head of the Supreme Military Council and unilaterally order the forfeiture of properties of persons without recourse to any judicial mechanism. This cannot be allowed to exit in a democracy. I therefore urge you all to support this amendment bill.”
NCDC Blames Youths For Rapid COVID-19 Spread In The Country
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has blamed youths for the rapid COVID-19 spread in the country.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the NCDC Director-General stated this during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, July 2, in Abuja.
He said youths between the ages of 20 and 40 were responsible for the spread of COVID-19, while the majority of those who succumb to the killer disease are older people from 50 years and above.
He said, “As more people are infected across the world, you would have seen the numbers; it is increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people really, not children, but people aged between 20 and 40 as far as we know, are really driving the spread of this virus, but those that are bearing the brunt of it are people age 50 and above.
“Three out of five people who died from COVID-19 are 50 years and above; so we have to work harder, all of us collectively, to protect our elderly. We are on the verge of opening our airports, we have relaxed intercity travel.”
As of July 2, there are 27,110 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country. 10,801 patients have been discharged and 616 deaths have been recorded.
- News5 days ago
Forget 2023 Presidency, Biafra Only Hope For Igbo — Col. Nwobosi
- Inside Nigeria6 days ago
SARS Operatives After Financial Gain Not Justice — Amnesty International
- Politics6 days ago
We Must Not Lose Edo To Opposition — Buhari Tells APC Govs
- Politics6 days ago
I’m Not Running For Presidency — Wike
- Biafra News5 days ago
“To Hell With Your Biafra” — Uwazuruike Roasts Nnamdi Kanu
- Metro3 days ago
Student With Highest JAMB Score, Agnes Maduafokwa Receives ₦16 Million From NSE
- Metro4 days ago
Igbo Statues ‘Stolen’ During Nigerian Civil War Sold For N85.6m By British Auctioneer
- World5 days ago
Former French PM, François Fillon And His Wife Sentenced To Jail For Embezzling Public Funds