Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Penthouses Linked To Allison-Madueke

A Federal High Court on Wednesday in Lagos ordered final forfeiture of two penthouses linked to a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

On December 5, 2017, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ordered an interim forfeiture of the properties after an ex parte (without notice) application was argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

EFCC’s application, marked FHC/L/CS/1793c/17, has as respondents Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Ltd.

The court had, on December 5, 2017, ordered an interim forfeiture of the following properties: “Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, 11 floor, Bella Vista, Banana Island, Ikoyi and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, be forfeited to the Federal Government, pending the conclusion of investigation.”

When the case was called up on Wednesday, Mr. ABC Ozioko announced appearance for the EFCC, while Mr. Emmanuel Bassey appeared for the second, third, and fourth respondents.

Addressing the court, Ozioko informed the court that he had a motion on notice brought pursuant to the provisions of the EFCC Act, the 1999 Constitution as well as under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

He urged the court to order a final forfeiture of the properties listed in the schedule.

Relying on the depositions in the affidavit deposed to by one Abdulrasheed Bawa, Ozioko argued that it was now pertinent for a final forfeiture order to be made, following the interim orders made on December 5, 2017.

He informed court that in compliance with the earlier orders of the court, the interim orders were advertised in The Nation newspaper of December 20, 2017.

He urged the court to cause the said properties to be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government and an order prohibiting any disposal mortgage or sale of the said properties mentioned in the application.

Besides, Ozioko also urged the court to authorise the EFCC to appoint a competent person or firm to manage the properties.

In response, counsel to the respondents, Bassey, informed the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit before the court and was not opposed to the application for final forfeiture.

In a short ruling, Olatoregun granted the orders as prayed, and ordered a final forfeiture of same.

“I have observed the facts and exhibits attached and I am also mindful that the second, third and fourth respondents have no objections to the application.

“I, therefore, have no hesitation in ordering a final forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government,” she ruled.

In its affidavit, the commission stated that during investigations into the ownership of YF Construction Development and Real Estate Ltd., one Fadi Basbous volunteered extra-judicial statement.

He said that Basbous stated that the two properties which were sold at $3.6m and $1.2m respectively, were owned by Sequoyah Properties Ltd. and Schillenburg LLC.

The deponent also stated that payments for the penthouses were made by one Angela Jide-Jones and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd., respectively.

The deponent further stated that Angela Jide-Jones is the wife of Jide Omokore, while Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd., was registered in the name of Jide Omokore.

The deponent also stated that Jide Omokore paid for the properties through his wife and one of his companies and directed its developers to sign the agreements with Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Ltd, which were linked to Alison-Madueke.

He said that Schillenburg LLC was registered in Hongkong and transferred to Donald Chidi Amamgbo as sole owner.

According to the deponent, Sequoyah Properties Ltd., was registered in Nigeria on October 11, 2011 with fictitious names as shareholders and directors. (NAN)

Fed High Court Vacates Restriction Order On Osun LG Election

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has vacated its order 2017 restraining the holding of elections into the Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs) and withholding Local Government Allocations in the state of Osun.

The court had on December 4, 2017 ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federal government and Ministry of Finance to warehouse statutory allocations to the local government councils in the state, as prayed by three members of the Peoples Democratic Party in a Motion Experte.

The PDP members, Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in the state in an attempt to stop the conduct of the local government in the state.

Contesting the court order, the state government filed an application before the court with a prayer for the vacation of the order.

In his ruling on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Justice John Tosho of the court held that the interim order earlier granted restraining the holding of elections into the LCDAs and withholding Local Government Allocations has lapsed by effusion of time.

Justice Tosho also upheld the contention of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr. Ajibola Basiru that the orders earlier for the plaintiffs were made upon the earlier ex parte application heard on November 27, 2017.

The court further held that they were caught by the provision of Order 26, Rule 12 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules which provides that an order granted upon an ex parte application will lapse where a person affected by the orders filed as application to discharge and/or vary the orders and the application is not heard within fourteen (14) days of filing.

According to the court, Osun State Government being the 7th Defendant filed an application to discharge the orders made on 4th of December 2017 and it was not in contention that the application has not been heard within 14 days.

Justice Tsoho therefore held that that the interim orders of injunction has lapsed and therefore there is no extant court order.

The court disagreed with the plaintiffs lawyer, Chief Clarke, SAN that the motion ex parte had been converted to motion on Notice.

The Court held that the term of its orders and Order 26, Rules 10 and 17 is against the argument of plaintiffs’ counsel.

On the pending objection to service by the Osun House of Assembly and Osun Independent Electoral Commission sued respectively as 8th and 9th Defendants, the court ordered that the plaintiffs should properly them.

Justice Tosho also struck out the applications for withdrawal of Motion on Notice for orders of interlocutory injunction filed the plaintiffs’ counsel.

The court adjourned the case till March 12, 2018 for further hearing.

Breaking: Federal High Court Says Order Restraining Osun LG Election Has Elapsed

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided over by Justice John Tosho has held that the interim order granted on 4th of December 2017 restraining the holding of elections into the LCDAs and withholding Local Government Allocations in the State of Osun has lapsed by effluxion of time.

The Court upheld the contention of the Attorney General of Osun, Dr. Ajibola Basiru that the orders granted on 4th of December are made upon the earlier ex-parte application of the Plaintiffs heard on 27th November, 2017.

The Court further held that being orders granted ex-parte they are caught by the provision of Order 26 rule 12 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules  which provides that an order granted upon an ex parte application will lapse where a person affected by the orders filed as application to discharge and/or vary the orders and the application is not heard within fourteen (14) days of filing.

The Court also held that the Osun State Government as the 7th Defendant filed an application to discharge the orders made on 4th of December 2017 and it is not in contention that the application has not been heard within 14 days.

Justice Tsoho therefore held that that the interim orders of injunction has lapsed and therefore there is no extant court order.

The court disagreed with Learned Counsel for the Plaintiffs Chief Clarke, SAN that the motion ex parte had been converted to motion on Notice.

The Court held that the term of its orders and Order 26 rules 10 and 17 is against the argument of Plaintiffs Counsel.

In view of the pending objection to service by the Osun House of Assembly and Osun Independent Electoral Commission sued respectively as 8th and 9th Defendants, the Court ordered that the Plaintiff properly serve the 8th and 9th Respondents.

In consequence, Counsel to the 8th Respondent, Rachel Ojimi and 9th Respondent, Dr. A.I. Layonu SAN withdrew the preliminary objection earlier filed to complain about  improper service. 

Plaintiffs Counsel also applied to withdraw Motion on Notice for orders of Interlocutory injunction it filed and the court struck out the applications.

The court adjourned to 12th March 2018 for further hearing.

BREAKING: Federal High Court Judge, Ademola Resigns

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, has voluntarily resigned from service.

The High court judge, who was one of the eight judges whose houses were raided by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for alleged corrupt practices and money laundering tendered his resignation letter to the National Judicial Council late in the evening of Wednesday after he had presided over several cases, four of which were criminal matters.

As at the time of filling this report, official reason or reasons for his retirement were unavailable.

PDP Crisis: Kashamu Begs High Court on Party’s Disciplinary Action

Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District, Buruji Kashamu, has begged the Federal High Court in Abuja to nullify the disciplinary decisions taken by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, against him.

He said all disciplinary steps, including his being queried on September 7, 2017, about his alleged actions and his referral to the Disciplinary Committee of the party, were in violation of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division in suit FHC/L/CS/605/2016, and also the order of Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Abuja Division of the court, made in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/732/2017 on September 5, 2017.

He said, the PDP as a party in “serial disobedience of court orders… in the management of its affairs in the South-West and disdain for the rule of law”, unless the court intervened in the matter, the party would unjustifiably expel him or block him from seeking nomination for future elections on its (PDP’s) platform.

He also stated in his fresh suit marked, ‘FHC/ABJ/CS/866/2017,’ that some national leaders of the PDP were moving against him just because he insisted on observance of internal democracy in the management of the affairs of the party, particularly in the South-West zone.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee are the first three respondents to the suit.

The fourth to the sixth respondents are the Chairman of the PDP Disciplinary Committee, Chief Tom Ikimi; Makarfi; and another member of the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party, Ben Obi.

Kashamu had filed the suit after he was queried by the party on September 7 over his activities in the South-West zone of the party.

He stated in the affidavit filed in support of the suit that the PDP had queried him and some other prominent leaders of the party in the South-West for encouraging “aggrieved members of the party to approach the court to enforce their rights.”

He added that the PDP, Ikimi and Makarfi had accused him in the letter dated September 7, 2017 “of instigating the Nigeria Police to arrest and prosecute certain named members of the party for contempt of court and directed me to respond to the query within seven days upon the receipt of the letter.”

Denying the said allegation, Kashamu said he did not in any way instigate the police to arrest any member of the party, adding that the query was “a prelude to the actualisation of the plan of the second to the sixth defendants (PDP, the caretaker committee, Ikimi, Makarfi and Obi) to have me expelled from the party, suspended or disciplined for no justifiable reason other than my insistence on the upholding of internal democracy in the management of the affairs of the PDP, especially in the South-West zone.”

Begging for the court’s intervention, he said his close friends in the national leadership of the party had told him that “the plan is to either expel or suspend me and other leaders of the party or refuse to allow us to seek nomination to contest for political office in the forthcoming elections.”
He also accused INEC of failing to check the continued violation of court orders and judgments by the party.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Friday fixed October 19, and alternative date of November 10 for the hearing of the suit.
INEC was not represented in court on .

Tori.ng

Federal High Court To Appoint Judges Soon – CJN

The Federal High Court is on its way to appointing judges as the seat is vacant says the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Onnoghen spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at the opening of the 33rd Annual Judges Conference.

He said that the colossal responsibilities bestowed on the court required that it had the full compliments of its judicial officers.

“The Constitution has vested colossal responsibility in the Federal High Court. “The court is undoubtedly one of the most strategic and significant arms of the judiciary and should be empowered with the right capacity to discharge its functions.

“To this end, I assure your Lordships that the process of appointing judges to this court is under way and will soon be completed.

“The appointment of new judges is with a view to ensuring that the court enjoys the full complements of its judicial officers as stipulated by the Constitution,” the CJN said.

Onnoghen who was represented by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa further stated that the judiciary remained committed to the Federal Government’s fight against corruption.

He urged all stakeholders to perform their functions diligently as all hands needed to be on deck to win the war against corruption.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, commended the support and cooperation of the CJN in appointing new judges to the court.

He said he was optimistic that the new judges would help to clear outstanding cases and reduce the cases on the docket of the courts.

According to Auta, it is a practice in the court from inception for judges to meet annually to appraise the activities of the previous year with a view to finding solutions to identified problems.

“In the process of finding solutions to identified problems, judges sincerely correct and apportion blames to their erring brother judges before eventually rededicating themselves to the core values of our calling and profession.”

Auta further stated that the 2017 Judges Conference was a unique one to him as it was the last one he would attend as Chief Judge since he was retiring on Sept. 16.

The Judges Conference which was declared open by the CJN would end on Sept. 15.

The Federal High Court, with 80 judges spread across its 37 judicial divisions, began activities to open its 2017/2018 legal year on Sept. 12 with a special court session

BREAKING: Court Orders Permanent Forfeiture Of Ex-Minister Diezani’s N7.6bn Loot

A federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of N7,646,700,000 said to have been illegally kept in Sterling Bank.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had linked the money to Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources.
Chuka Obiozor, a judge, who gave the judgment on Monday, had ordered the permanent forfeiture of a $37.5m sky-scrapper in Banana Island, Lagos, allegedly owned by Diezani.
The commission had told Obiozor through an ex parte application that the N7.6bn was part of the $153,310,000 which Alison-Madueke allegedly siphoned from the coffers of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2014.
The EFCC also alleged that the former minister stashed the money away in three banks and that the federal government had since February last year, through an order granted by another judge, Muslim Hassan, recovered part of the money.
It urged the court to order Sterling Bank to release to the federal government the said sum still in its custody.
Obiozor had granted an interim order for the forfeiture of the funds, but on Monday he gave a permanent order for the seizure of the funds.

Court To Rule On Dino Malaye’s Recall Sept 11

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on September 11, will decide if the process to recall Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye should be aborted.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the September date after listening to arguments from all parties involved in the suit.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had commenced the process to recall Mr. Melaye, but the senator went to court, seeking stoppage of the process.

One of the grounds upon which Mr. Melaye, who represents Kogi West in the Senate, challenged his recall, was that the signatures of some of the voters in the petition for his recall were fictitious.

Mr. Melaye who argued his case through his counsel, Nkem Okoro, said majority of the signatures on the petition were dead people.

He added that death certificates were attached to the processes he filed as exhibits to ascertain the veracity of his claim that some of the signatories were deceased.

He further alleged that he was denied fair hearing by both his constituents and INEC.

“The petitioners ought to have informed Mr. Melaye of the facts and circumstances upon which the alleged loss of confidence was based prior to submission of the petition to INEC.

“INEC upon receipt of the said petition only served Melaye a mere notice that it had received a petition for his recall. So we are challenging INEC’s action.

“They should have shown a copy of the petition to Melaye and failure to do so amounts to denial of fair hearing and a violation of the laws of natural justice.”

Mr. Okoro also said his client was challenging the validity of the said petition on the grounds that the petition was based on political animosity, malice and bad faith.

He urged the court to grant the prayers of his motion and stop INEC from going ahead with the planned recall.

Counsel to the other plaintiffs in the matter said they aligned themselves with the arguments of Mr. Okoro.

Counsel to INEC, Anthony Adeniyi, on his part, said Mr. Melaye had failed to show the court the particular signatories on the petition to which the death certificates attached as exhibit belonged.

“If he attached death certificates, he should tell the court that this certificate for example, belongs to signature number 24 on the petition, but he failed to do that.”

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter until Sept. 11 for judgment.

The judge also fixed Sept.11 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), also seeking to stop Melaye’s recall.

The judge consolidated the two suits to avoid having conflicting judgments since the subject of both suits were similar.

(NAN)

 

Court Grants Nnamdi Kanu Bail

The leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu has been granted bail by the Federal High Court in the sum of N100 million on Tuesday.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, granted bail to the defendant to enable him to attend to his ailing health.

The judge, in addition, ordered that the defendant produces three sureties with N100 million each.
Kanu, Onwudiwe Chidiebere, Banjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi were arraigned by the federal government last year on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms, among others.

But Justice Nyako had struck out six out of the 11 amended charges filed against the defendants on grounds that they lacked competence.

Ruling on the bail application of the defendants, the judge said she was convinced that Kanu’s ailment was one that needed serious medical attention than the current medical facilities provided by the prison authorities.

“The first defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, has appealed to the court for bail based on health grounds and it is only the living that can stand trial.
“So I am minded to grant him bail so that he can attend to his health and face his trial alive,” she said.

The court, however, said that the sureties to be provided by Kanu should include a highly respected Jewish leader since according to her, the defendant claimed Judaism as his religion.

Another of the sureties, according to the judge, should be a senior and highly placed individual of Igbo extraction and in the ranking of a senator, while the last is expected to be a respected individual resident in Abuja with proof of ownership of landed property.

In addition, Justice Nyako said Kanu must never be seen in a crowd of more than 10 persons, adding: “No interviews and no rallies.”
Also, the judge ordered Kanu to deposit his international passport including his British passport with the court, adding that the court should on a monthly basis be furnished with a progress report on his health.