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Posts tagged ‘Chief judge’

N1.5bn Imo contract scam, EFCC clears impeached deputy gov.


Efcc-boss-imo-dep-gov

After about nine months of investigation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cleared the impeached deputy governor of Imo State, Sir Jude Agbaso, of any wrong-doings and involvement in the N1.3 billion contract scam that rocked the state earlier in the year.

Twenty three members of the 27-member Imo State House of Assembly impeached him on March 28, 2013 over his alleged indictment in the contract saga.

Agbaso has been in court challenging the impeachment as well as his alleged indictment in the contract scandal.

He was accused of demanding and receiving a bribe of N458 million from a firm, JPROS International Ltd., which was awarded the said controversial construction contract by the Imo State government.

A letter signed by the commission’s Director of Operations, Olaolu Adegbite, dated November 27, 2013 with reference no CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/E.G/T4/VOL.14/252, which has been seen by Nigerian Tribune, showed that the investigation was at the instance of the impeached deputy governor.

It was entitled: “Formal Request for Investigation of Mr Joseph Dina of JPROS International Nigeria Ltd, a Construction Company located at 11, Umezuruike Street, opposite Umezuruike Hospital, Owerri, Imo State.”

The letter addressed to Agbaso read: “We refer to your letter dated 21st March, 2013 on the above subject and hereby provide our findings so far into the case.

“Road contracts for the sum of one and a half billion naira awarded to JPROS International Nig. Ltd was alleged to have engendered fraudulent bribe payments of N458 million by the Managing Director of JPROS, one Joseph Dina to you as the then Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Works.

“In furtherance of the investigation, evidence adduced from interview of key officials of Imo State government and other important witnesses, as well as documents obtained from relevant financial institutions confirmed that the sum of N1.305,000,000.00 was paid to JPROS to execute the Warehouse Orlu Road Junction, Odunze Street, Aba Road and Old Nekede Road projects within Owerri metropolis before mobilisation to the sites.

“The total sum of $5,538,830 USD was found to have been remitted to the personal accounts of Dina in Dubai and Lebanon. There is no single evidence so far that suggested that you benefitted from the funds.

“In his statement to the commission on 28th March, 2013, Dina revealed that he never gave any money to you or any other official of the state government over the contracts, which are yet to be fully executed as at the last visit of our officers in April 2013.

“The commission’s legal department is working on the case file with a view to taking appropriate legal action, please.”

Agbaso was replaced as the state deputy governor by the governor’s Chief of Staff, Mr Eze Madumere.

The state Chief Judge, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, had set up a seven-man probe panel which indicted Agbaso for alleged financial misconduct over the alleged bribery, paving the way for his impeachment.

It was also learnt that the clean bill of health given him by the anti-corruption agency had been communicated to the state lawmakers.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Paedophile Senator Yerima on criminal charges.


Senator-Yerima

THE police in Zamfara State at the weekend filed criminal charges against Senator Yerima Bakura and 29 others at a Zamfara High Court over alleged conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that counsel to the police, Oloye Torugbene, sought the leave of the court to prosecute the case, pursuant to the Criminal Procedure. He told the court that all relevant documents, including affidavits, exhibits, names and addresses of accused persons, as well as written statements of witnesses and the accused persons, had been submitted to the court. He, therefore, urged the court to proffer a criminal charge based on the evidence provided for prosecution. He said, already, the accused persons who had been served arraignment notice, were released through police administrative bail and pleaded with the court to fix a date for hearing. The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kulu Aliyu, said in a ruling that the court was competent to handle the case. Aliyu urged the prosecutor to serve the accused persons with all the relevant documents and fixed Jan. 13, 2014 for hearing. The member of the House of Representatives from Gusau/Tsafe,Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu, had, in June, alleged that some people mobilised some thugs to kill him. He alleged that during the incident, the attackers removed large sum of money from his vehicle. He reported the case to the Inspector-General of Police, who set up an investigation that led to the court case. Source: Radio Biafra.

Bayelsan Judge, In Remarkable Show Of Professionalism, Recuses Self In The Case Of Jonathan’s Prosecution of LEADERSHIP Journalists.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Justice Peter Affen of the Abuja High Court yesterday voluntarily took himself away from having to adjudicate on the case of forgery of a presidential directive being pursued against two journalists of the Leadership Newspapers stable by the federal government.

The judge hails from Bayelsa, the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan.

He explained he made the decision in the interest of integrity and to preserve the sanctity of the judiciary, given a media report of a link between him and the President, who is directly involved in the case.

In the dock are the Group News Editor of the newspaper, Tony Amokeodo, and Political Correspondent Chibuzor Ukaibe.

Curiously, the case file had been reportedly withdrawn from Justice Usman Musale, without a request by any of the parties, and then assigned to Justice Affen, allegedly a kinsman of President Jonathan, despite the appearance of impropriety.

In court yesterday, the lead lawyer to the federal government, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), expressed shock over the matter.  “I saw the publication this morning and I must say that it is objectionable and unfair,” he said.  “I knew nothing about it but its effect is enormous.”

Defence lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), associated himself with the views of Awomolo.

“I was surprised when I saw the report yesterday,” he said.  “I hold your lordship in high esteem and from my investigation, the court did not ask for the case. I thought the prosecution asked for the transfer of the case but he too thought I did but neither of us asked for the transfer of the case. Having regard to the integrity and the independence of the judiciary, your lordship may wish to send the case file back to the Chief Judge.  This humble application is hinged on need to preserve the integrity of the judiciary”.

In his ruling, Justice Affen observed that the only thing that connected him with President Goodluck Jonathan is that they are from the same state.

“I must place on record my profound gratitude to counsel in this matter for seeking to protect not only my integrity but that of the judiciary. It is correct that justice is rooted in confidence and must not only be done but seen to have been done.

“The implications of the publication are far too damaging to ignore. I will therefore, in the interest of justice return the case file to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge that is not from Bayelsa state. The only thing that connects me with the President is the Creeks in the Niger Delta“.

Alleged Forgery: CJ Transfers FG Suit Against LEADERSHIP Journalists to Jonathan’s Kinsman.


 

Femi Falana (SAN) and two journalist accused of forgery by the Jonathan regime
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Chief Judge of the Abuja High Court, Justice Ibrahim Bukar, has transferred a lawsuit by the Federal Government accusing two journalists with Nigeria’s LEADERSHIP newspaper of forgery to Justice Peter Affen, a kinsman of President Goodluck Jonathan, who has an interest in the lawsuit.

Justice Affen becomes the third judge to handle the case since the Federal Government filed the alleged forgery case against Tony Amokeodo, the newspaper group’s news editor, and Chibuzor Ukaibe, the paper’s political correspondent. The journalists were initially arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja. The Federal Government is accusing Mr. Amokeodo, Mr. Ukaibe as well as LEADERSHIP newspapers of alleged forgery of a presidential directive.

After a couple of sessions, the Federal Government withdrew the charge and then re-filed it before Justice Usman Musale of the Abuja High Court in Kubwa. Justice Musale adjourned the case till October 24, 2013.

But in a move described by one lawyer as “bizarre and disturbing,” Chief Judge Bukar suddenly withdrew the case file from Justice Musale and re-assigned it to Justice Affen. “This kind of re-assignment is highly unusual,” said a legal source. He added: “It suggests that the CJ might have been under pressure from certain functionaries of the government to make this move.”

When Justice Musale was hearing the case, the journalists’ main defense lawyer, Femi Falana, had moved a motion asking the court to direct President Jonathan to testify as a witness in the case. But the Federal Government’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, raised an objection challenging the propriety of the application. Justice Musale upheld the objection.

Mr. Falana subsequently filed an appeal against the ruling, asking the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the verdict of the lower court. The appeal was still pending when the journalists received a hearing notice from the court on Thursday, November 21, 2013. The hearing notice was dated November 20, 2013. The notice indicated that the case had been re-assigned to the Justice Affen, who hails from the president’s home state of Bayelsa and presides over Court 29 of the Abuja High Court in Apo. The notice further stated that Justice Affen would be hearing the case on Tuesday, November 26.

Efforts to get the reaction of the registrar of the court and the public relations officer (PRO) over the sudden reassignment of the case were unsuccessful.

 

Rivers Crisis: Evans Chindah Family Wants CJ Of Rivers Queried By The NJC.


Evans Chinda last seen a London hospital
By Saharareporters, New York

The family of the battered member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Michael Okechukwu Chindah, who is currently undergoing medical treatment in London, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the “undue interference” of the Chief Judge, Justice Iche Ndu, in the matter.

According to a statement by Chief Evans Chindah, older brother of Hon Chindah, the family resorted to the petition against in order to ensure that justice is done in the case which, he said, the Amaechi Government is twisting to give the impression that his brother was at fault and deserved the violence that Hon Chidi Lloyd visited on him.

Chief Chindah said his family was particularly surprised and sad that instead of pursuing the course of peace, the Chief Judge and the governor do not want the case to go on, and that the Chief Judge is resorting to underground maneuverings to subvert the course of justice.
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He alleged ‘glaring irregularities’ in the case since Hon Lloyd was brought to court, accusing the Chief Judge and the presiding Judge, Justice Letam Nyordee, of trying to defeat justice through the back door.

Hon Lloyd was brought to court on a six count charge of conspiracy, attempted murder and aggravated assault among others. Chief Chindah alleged that owing chiefly to the desperation of the Amaechi administration to take control of the case prematurely and free Hon Lloyd, the arraignment ran into a hitch for which the court adjourned the matter to 6th August, 2013 for ruling on the interlocutory argument of whether or not the police can engage a private counsel to
prosecute the accused person.

“Surprisingly and in a twist of fate, the Chief Judge, the presiding Judge and the State Government unknown to the defense counsel refixed the case to be heard again on the 31st of July, 2013 instead of the 6th of August,” he said.  “The court heard and ordered exparte that Hon Lloyd be produced in court by the police, knowing full well that the short notice was inappropriate. As predicted Hon Lloyd was not brought to court and we went home dejected.”

Chief Chindah further said he and members of their family are deeply tormented by “this shady development and the desperation of the Rivers State Government to discharge Hon Lloyd at all cost.

“This is evident from the premature scramble by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Mr Worgu Boms to take over the case even before proper arraignment as demonstrated on the first day of the trial,” he declared, pleading with the NJC to call the Rivers State Chief Judge and the presiding Judge to order as justice is not one way traffic.

“All sides to the case deserve justice and that is what our family is asking for and no more,” he said.

Dictatorial Decision In Bayelsa As Gov. Dickson Sacks Elected LGA Chairmen, Swears In Handpicked Surrogates.


Seriake Dickson

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has sacked two elected local government chairmen and appointed acting chairmen in their stead. The governor’s action is being seen as another evidence of dictatorial rule by Mr. Dickson, barely one year in office. Both Governor Dickson and several of his closest aides are retired police or military officers, and their military-style mode of governance has troubled many critics in Bayelsa.

Akoso Napoleon and Ebikeme Okoringa were on Friday sworn in as the acting chairmen of Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas respectively.

Their swearing in was performed by Governor Dickson under the supervision of the Chief Judge, Kate Abiri. The changes came after the surprise impeachment of the former chairmen of the affected local government areas over alleged abuse of office.

The Peoples Democratic Party had issued a statement accusing the fired chairmen of making attempts to undermine the peace of their local councils with the collaboration of some desperate politicians and power seekers. Signed by the state chairman of the PDP, Sam Inokoba, a retired colonel, the statement claimed that “barely two months ago PDP in Bayelsa State waded into the matter concerning the three LGAs. We took the decision because of several disturbing reports on the refusal of the chairmen of the three local government areas to work with their respective councilors.” It continued: “As a responsible party, we at the time decried the action of the chairmen, particularly their refusal to work with the councilors. The party advised the chairmen to work harmoniously with their councilors and not see their reinstatement by the Supreme Court as a call to exact vengeance.

“Sadly, rather than allow reason [to] prevail, the said chairmen have chosen to embrace the path of self-destruction, apparently because they have long ceased to be members and dumped our great party and embraced little known Change Advocacy Party (CAP).

“Having found themselves in councils dominated by PDP-elected councilors, these chairmen have since discovered that they cannot be sole administrators from their shaky CAP platform. The point must be made clear that no sooner had the chairmen been reinstated than they appointed their vice chairmen without recourse to the councilors, who are constitutionally empowered to ratify such appointments.”

In his charge to the new acting chairmen, Mr. Dickson warned them against turning the council to their personal estate, saying, “Don’t operate as sole administrators; rather you should work harmoniously with your legislative arms.” He added: “As an administration hinged on transparency and accountability, you are expected to render monthly account of income and expenditure of the council funds.” The governor stated that, “We are working hard to preserve and protect the democratic system at the third tier of government to ensure smooth transition of local government administration.”

Mr. Dickson started life as a police constable while his deputy is a retired naval officer. The state’s PDP chairman is also a retired army officer.

SaharaReporters could not reach the sacked council chairmen for their reactions at the time of filing this report.

Source. SAHARA REPORTERS.

Judge Rules There’s Enough Evidence for James Holmes to Stand Trial.


A judge has ruled there’s sufficient evidence for James Holmes to stand trial for killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this summer. 18th Judicial District Chief Judge William Sylvester ruledafter three days of preliminary hearings that there is sufficient evidence to charge Holmes.

So, what happens now? Holmes is being charged with 166 felony counts, including murder and attempted murder. He is expected to enter a plea at an arraignment hearing currently set for 9 a.m. Friday morning, though it’s unlikely that will happen. His defense team requested the arraignment be delayed and tomorrow’s court appearance be changed to a status hearing even before the judge ruled there was enough evidence to charge Holmes. Holmes’ attorneys also disputing the media’s being allowed to attend the hearing. Cameras have mostly been barred from the courtroom throughout the trial so far.

The three days of hearings leading up to Sylvester’s decision laid the groundwork for what’s to come in the criminal trial. Holmes’ attorneys signaled they would be trying to use Colorado’s unique criminal law to use an insanity defense. While the prosecution made their case that Holmes knew exactly what he was doing when he entered that movie theater thanks to pictures he took of the the theater’s interior before his attackand the complicated booby trap system he left behind for police arriving at his apartment.

You can the judge’s entire decision here.

Source: YAHOO NEWS/ THE ATLANTIC WIRE.

CONNOR SIMPSON

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