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BREAKING: Court Strikes Out Charges Of Non-Declaration Of Assets Against Ekweremadu

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Ekweremadu

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, struck out charges of non-declaration of assets instituted against a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.

The dissolved panel then led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla had in 2018 instituted the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018 against Ekweremadu, alleging that, “without reasonable excuse”, the serving senator refused and neglected to declare his assets upon being served the panel’s “notice to declare”.

The AGF office took over the case and other suits being handled by the SPIP upon a presidential directive dissolving the panel in 2019.

On Monday, Justice Binta Nyako struck out the case against Ekweremadu after the prosecuting counsel from the AGF office, Mr Pius Akutah, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel had disappeared with the case file.

Akutah pleaded with the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF office but the request was declined by the judge.

But Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the judge to strike out the case.

Responding, Justice Nyako dismissed the prosecution’s request.

She said, “You are attorney general (referring to the lawyer as representing the AGF), you should know what to do.

“You should not be waiting for me to make an order against an individual.”

Justice Nyako added, “So, as it is today, you don’t know the case against the defendant since you don’t have the file. I am going to strike out the case, when you are ready you can come back.

“The case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution. The prosecution is allowed to come back whenever they are ready to proceed with the case.”

The PUNCH reports that Ekweremadu was present in court and stood in the dock while the proceedings lasted on Monday.

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EFCC Told Me to Claim $25,000 Against Shehu Sani — Star Witness

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The case of $25,000 fraud against former senator Shehu Sani has taken a new twist as the star witness has claimed that he was coerced into accusing the former senator by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The proprietor of ASD Motors, Alhaji Sani Dauda told the court at the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday that he was asked to claim that Shehu Sani defrauded him of $25,000 by the EFCC during cross examination.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over the resumed hearing on Tuesday as Alhaji Dauda made the revelation under cross examination by counsel to the former senator, Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi.

He was asked how much he gave to Shehu Sani and for what purposes. He also asked to confirm the bill of quantity for a car he sold to the accused.

He was asked further if the funds given to Sani was to bribe the EFCC and the Ministry of Justice to which he answered;

“The amount was $13,000, but the $25,000 was forced on him by the EFCC operatives as exhibit against Mallam Shehu Sani. Nobody was there when Shehu was given the $25,000 and no one was there when he refunded the money to him.

When the money was refunded to me EFCC said I must bring it, but I said no that I have recovered my money but they insisted I have been cheated that I should return the money to them.”

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Security Agents Storm Magu’s Homes

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A combined team of riot policemen and operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) are currently searching the residence of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Recall that Magu was suspended as Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

President Buhari had set up the panel to probe various allegations levelled against Magu, following a petition by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Department of State Service (DSS).

Meanwhile, a source close to the presidential panel set up to investigate Mr Magu said operatives were detailed to conduct searches at Mr Magu’s private home in Karu and his official residence in the Maitama District of the Nigerian capital.

“As I speak with you our men are on their way to Maitama, having finished with his house in Karu,” the source said.

A domestic staff at the residence confirmed the presence of the security men as of 7:30 pm.

He said the security operatives arrived in four vehicles and spent over an hour searching the house.

“They searched the house but found nothing so they wrote a report and both of us signed,” said a security guard in the house who was not authorised to speak.

Mr Magu was arrested in front of the EFCC office in Abuja by security officials on Monday, over allegations of corruption, insubordination and abuse of office by Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.

He was driven to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he appeared before a presidential panel investigating alleged corruption and insubordination.

After his appearance before the panel, he was taken into custody by the police, where he was held overnight by detectives.

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Magu’s Suspension: Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Fight Political — Moghalu

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Kingsley Moghalu, the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential candidate in 2019 election has insinuated that the anti-corruption war under President Muhammadu Buhari is not independent of politics.

His position came in reaction to the suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Tuesday.

Multiple sources had confirmed Magu’s suspension to The Nation after he faced the Presidential panel on corruption at the Presidential Villa on Monday morning over the allegation of corruption, insubordination and abuse of office — charges recently reported via memo by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to the President.

The ex-deputy governor of CBN on Twitter Tuesday evening said: ‘News of the suspension of EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu by President Buhari, and all the “factional” controversy surrounding him since his appointment, goes far beyond Magu.

‘Our “fight” against corruption in Nigeria has been more of politics and power play.’

While suggesting that the politics may responsible for reasons why concrete measures have not been implemented in tackling corruption, Moghalu, however, maintained neutrality on the allegations Magu is being probed for.

“I take no position on whether or not Magu is guilty as alleged or not. But I think all the controversies indicate that control of EFCC is a “prize” that is being contested by powerful interests. This may be why we have not taken the real, PREVENTIVE measures necessary,” Moghalu noted.

Aside from the call for the sack of Magu contained in Malami’s memo to Buhari, it is also on record that the 9th Senate led by Dr. Bukola Saraki refused to confirm the suspended EFCC chief as the chairman of the anti-graft agency on the account of questionable integrity.

He only served in acting capacity throughout.

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