Supreme Court Orders GTB To Pay Innoson N14bn Judgement Debt

The Supreme Court yesterday, admitted that Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) should pay about N14bn illegal charges allegedly deducted from the account of Innoson Nigeria Limited, to a trustee account, pending the determination of the substantive matter.

The apex court struck out a motion for stay of execution filled by the bank, thereby favouring the December 2014 ruling of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, which ordered Guarantee Trust Bank to pay N5.9 billion into an interest yielding account of the court.

Counsel to Innoson, Prof McCarthy Mbadugha, however argued that the money which amounts to excess and unlawful charges deducted from Innoson’s account now stood at over N14billion.

The Court of Appeal had on December 9, 2014 ordered GTB to pay the sum of N5, 936,126,219.01k to the Deputy Chief Register of the Court within 14 days from the date of ruling and that the Deputy Chief Register shall pay same into an interest yielding account in a reputable bank other than Diamond Bank or Mainstreet Bank Plc. pending the determination of the appeal.

According to the ruling, the said fund together with whatever accrues thereon shall be paid to the party who wins the appeal.

Unsatisfied with the court’s decision, GTB filed a motion for stay of execution at the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court struck out the motion as it maintained that it would not entertain any motion until the 2014 decision of the Court of Appeal is complied with.

Following the decision of the apex court, GTB is expected to within 14 days, pay the sum of over N14billion judgment debt to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal Enugu Division and which will now be paid into an interest yielding account in a reputable bank.

The money together with whatever interest accrues thereon shall be paid to the party who wins the appeal.

You Must Face Your N5bn Trial – S/Court Tells Ex-Bank Chief

The Supreme Court has ordered a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, to return to the Federal High Court in Lagos to face his trial on N5bn fraud charges.
The trial was prematurely terminated in April 2012 by Justice Charles Archibong, whose decision in the case later earned him a compulsory retirement from the bench.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously affirmed the February 20, 2015, judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos which had overturned the Federal High Court’s decision striking out the charges.
Justice Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment of the apex court, said Akingbola’s appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s verdict lacked merit.
He ordered that the case be remitted to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos Division and be given “expeditions trial”.
Justice Archibong (now retired) had in a judgment delivered on April 2, 2012 struck out the 26 counts contained in a charge numbered FHC/L/443C/2013 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Akingbola on the grounds that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case.
The judge had described the EFCC prosecution team as a drain in the public purse and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation to disband the team.
The judge’s decision in the case later earned him a compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council.
Commenting on the conduct of the judge in the case, a member of the apex court’s panel, Justice Kumai Akaahs, noted in his contribution that Justice Archibong acted like a military dictator.
Justice Akaahs said Archibong “descended into the arena” and displayed his bias.

Assets Declaration: Supreme Court Fixes Date To Rule On Saraki’s Case

The Supreme Court has set July 6 to deliver judgment in the appeal filed by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, challenging the ruling of the Court of Appeal which asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to try him on three of the 18 counts brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The apex court fixed the date on Thursday in Abuja after hearing the appeal and cross-appeal filed by the Senate President and the anti-graft agency over the allegations of false asset declaration.

Senator Saraki is contending that there is no prima facia case against him and as such, the apex court should uphold his no case submission which was upheld by the CCT.

Counsel to the Senate President, Mr Kanu Agabi, told the court that the law was not followed in filing the case against his client.

He added that section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act stipulates that only an authorised person can verify whether a person’s asset declaration was properly done or not.

Agabi maintained that in the instant case, all four witnesses presented by the prosecution at the CCT did not meet the requirements stipulated by law.

He, therefore, asked the court to uphold his appeal and dismiss all the charges against him.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, who filed a cross-appeal, asked the court to quash the no case submission upheld by the CCT and ask the tribunal to retry the Senate President on all 18 counts preferred against him.

Jacobs argued that the section of the law relied on by the Senate President was not mandatory and that based on a whistleblower information or petition, the Attorney-General felt there was a breach of the law and ordered the investigation which led to the prosecution of the Senate President.

When asked if Saraki was invited based on the findings of the investigation, the prosecutor answered in the affirmative, and when asked who the Senate President made a statement to, he told the court that it was the EFCC and not the CCB.

He, however, insisted that the Senate President had a case to answer and as such, his cross-appeal seeking to quash the no-case submission upheld by the CCT to should be allowed.

The CCT had on June 14, 2017, quashed an 18-count of false asset declaration and money laundering against Saraki by the EFCC for lacking in merit. The tribunal agreed with the Senate President that he had no case to answer.

On January 14, 2018, the appellate court agreed in part with the lower court but held that he had a case to answer in counts 4, 5, and 6 which had to do with his purchase of properties in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

Court Orders Jibrin’s Lawyer To Pay N2m For Frivolous Petition

The Supreme Court has fined a lawyer, Mr. Tolu Babaleye, N2m for filing a frivolous appeal to delay the hearing of a suit filed by a former Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin,‎ to challenge his suspension for 180 legislative days since September 28, 2016.

A five-man panel of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, during the proceedings that held on Wednesday, delivered a unanimous bench judgment shortly after parties to the appeal adopted their papers in the course of the proceedings.

Describing the appeal as “vexatious and frivolous”, Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment of the court, ordered Babaleye to pay each of the four respondents to the appeal, including Jibrin, the sum of N500,000.

Apart from Jibrin, the other respondents ordered to be paid N500,000 each were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; the House of Representatives and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

The court ordered that the total fine amounting to N2m must be personally paid by the lawyer.

Babaleye had filed the appeal on behalf of two members of the House of Representatives – Nicholas Ossai and Orker-Jev Yisa – asking to be allowed to be joined as defendants to Jibrin’s case which is still pending before the Federal High Court.

Ossai was the Chairman of House Committee on Ethics, which recommended Jibrin’s suspension and Yisa was the House member who moved the motion for the suspension of the Kano lawmaker.

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, where Jibrin’s substantive suit is still pending, had on April 13, 2017, dismissed the lawmakers’ joinder application, describing them as “strangers” with no interest to protect in the proceedings.

The lawmakers had, through their lawyer, Babaleye, appealed to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had also in its judgment delivered on December 17, 2017, dismissed their case.

The two legislators had further appealed to the Supreme Court.

At the hearing of the appeal before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the appellants’ lawyer, Babaleye, faced a torrent of questions from the members of the CJN-led panel, expressing their concerns about the frivolity of the appeal.

In response, Babaleye maintained that the appeal was necessary and filed to enable the appellants “to clear their names”.

Dasukigate: Supreme Court Rejects Metuh’s Appeal

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, should face trial for alleged fraud.

Mr. Metuh is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The trial judge, Okon Abang, had in March 2016 ruled that Mr. Metuh and his company, Destra Investment, had a case to answer in the seven-count charge of fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal in May 2016, resulting in a Supreme Court appeal.

In a ruling Friday, the Supreme Court gave the same reasons given by the Court of Appeal for refusing Mr. Metuh’s request.

According to the Court of Appeal, Mr. Metuh’s motion was regarded incompetent for failing to comply with constitutional provisions for the filing of such appeal.

The court said Mr. Metuh was wrong to have brought the appeal without first seeking the leave of the lower court, or that of the Appeal Court itself.

The Appeal Court therefore ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, given the defective manner with which the suit was filed.

In a similar opinion, on Friday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Dattijo Mohammed, said the court could not entertain a suit with a fundamental defect, emanating from the nature of filing at the lower court.

The unanimous judgement was read by Justice Ejembi Eko. The apex court said its decision was based on section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

“Where the Court of Appeal lacks the necessary jurisdiction, in the first place, to hear and determine the appeal before it, such as in the instant case, no decision of the court against the competent appeal lies to this court.

“It is for that reason I strike out the incompetent appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court below,” Mr. Eko ruled.

Supreme Court To Rule On Dasuki’s Detention March

The Supreme Court on Monday fixed March 2 for judgment on an appeal by former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, challenging his alleged indefinite detention.

The panel of five Justices, led by Dattijo Mohammed, gave the date after counsel to the parties in the case adopted their addresses.

The ex-NSA had on June 15, 2016 at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, lost his bid to enforce his freedom after securing bails on all the charges against him.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Mr. Dasuki is standing trial for allegedly mismanaging $2.1 billion meant for purchase of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr. Dasuki’s counsel, Joe Daudu, argued that the decision of the Court of Appeal was erroneous, adding that it was incumbent on the Supreme Court to restore the integrity of all courts.

Mr. Daudu submitted that it was out of place for the court of appeal to scuttle the fundamental rights of a citizen after well-considered decisions of four courts that admitted the applicant to bail.

He said that his client needed the bail to prepare his defence, adding that he could not have access to security documents while in detention.

“My Lords, Dasuki is already being treated as a convict, even when none of the charges brought against him has been concluded.

“We sincerely pray this esteemed court to do the needful by setting aside the decision of the lower court.

“We also pray the court to momentarily halt the applicant’s trial until the federal government obeys the bail order of court,’’ Daudu said.
Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to EFCC, opposed the appeal, saying that it lacked merit and should be dismissed.

He said the bail condition granted Mr. Dasuki was perfected on December 29, 2015, adding that a warrant of release to that effect was served on the Comptroller of Prisons in Kuje, upon which he was released.

Mr. Jacobs said the federal government had not violated his rights, adding that the applicant was only re-arrested by the operatives of the SSS over other fraud allegations.

He said that it was unfair for the applicant to consider his re-arrest as a disobedience to court’s order on his bail.
He said that no court bail was targeted at the SSS when granted.
“The EFCC which put Dasuki on trial on criminal charges at the FCT High Court cannot be held responsible for the action of the DSS on the ground that the two agencies are different entities.

“Besides, My Lords, the appeal court has said there was no existing order against the re-arrest of Dasuki.
“Suffice to say that there cannot be a disobedience to a non-existing court order.

“We pray the apex court to affirm the decision of the lower court which ordered the continuation of the applicant’s trial even while he remains in detention,’’ he said.

Mr. Dasuki had approached Supreme Court praying it to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which exonerated EFCC from his re-arrest shortly after he perfected his bail conditions.

He further asked the court to void the ruling of the Federal High Court.

The trial court had held that DSS and EFCC were distinct agents of the federal government, which is the complainant in the charges against the applicant.

Mr. Dasuki had alleged that such pronouncement had given the two agents of government handling the trial to act at variance and against justice.

(NAN)

Okezie Ikpeazu Wins At Supreme Court, Remains Governor Of Abia State

The supreme court has upheld the position of Okezie Ikpeazu as Abia state governor.

On June 27, Okon Abang, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja, ordered Ikpeazu’s removal on the allegation that he submitted false tax documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This followed a suit filed by Uche Ogah who placed second in the PDP governorship primary election Ikpeazu won.

Abang had directed INEC to issue Ogah with a certificate of return, but Ikpeazu filed an appeal against the judgment.

On August 8, the appeal court set aside the judgment of the lower court, and held that the judge ignored examining the tax documents which were tendered to his court as exhibits.

At the apex court on Friday, a five-man panel of judges led by Walter Onnoghen, chief of justice of Nigeria (CJN), faulted the lower court’s decision on the tax documents.

Onnoghen said Ikpeazu could not be held responsible for the discrepancies in his tax documents because there were given to him by the state.

The court then dismissed Ogah’ suit challenging the judgment of the appeal court which reversed the order of the high court sacking Ikpeazu

 

Justice Ngwuta Arraigned At CCT

A suspended Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta was on Thursday arraigned at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Abuja, on an amended 8-count charge of false assets declaration.

Ngwuta, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges instituted by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to the defendant, made an oral application seeking the bail of his client on self-recognisance.

Mr Umar Muhammed, Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, did not oppose the application, as according to him, bail granting was at the discretion of the court.

The tribunal headed by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, granted the bail application and fixed July 12 for the commencement of trial.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), had averred that Ngwuta contravened Section 15 of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

According to Malami, false declaration of assets was punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Act.

Ngwuta is one of the federal judges from whose residences, the Department of State Service (DSS) claimed it uncovered huge sums of money in various denominations.

The DSS raided the judges’ residences in October, 2016.

Ngwuta is currently standing trial on that account before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The Federal Government that preferred that charges, said Ngwuta contravened Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (as amended).

It added that the offences are punishable under Section 15 (3) of the Act.

7years-jail term attested to kidnapper- Supreme court

The Nigeria Supreme court on Nigeria has decleared the conviction of Human traffickers Serah Ekundayo Ezekiel, who was earlier sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for trafficking in persons

The judgment by the apex court brings to an end the legal battle which started in 2011 in Ikeja, Lagos.

In a unanimous decision on Friday, the five Justices of the Supreme Court who sat on the matter upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

In his lead Judgment, Justice C.C Nwaeze found no merit in the appeal and therefore, dismissed it.

Serah Ezekiel was sued at the Federal High Court, Ikeja, Lagos on November 18, 2011 by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation on an 18 Counts charge, all bothering on offences of trafficking in persons contrary to various sections of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 (as amended)

Ezekiel, who was 29 year old as at the time of committing the offence in July 2011 procured four females, aged 17, 19, 20 and 21 years from various parts of Lagos State and took them to Mali where they were used as prostitutes.

On arraignment, she pleaded guilty to all the counts and was subsequently found guilty, convicted on all the 18 counts and sentenced.

Aggrieved by her conviction and sentence, Serah Ezekiel approached the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division which affirmed the trial Court’s verdict. Still not satisfied, she approached the Apex Court but had her case dismissed for lack of merit.

Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the appeal.

The Supreme Court judgment brings to two appeals decided by the Apex Court in the last 2 weeks on human trafficking.

The Court a fortnight ago in a judgment read by Justice Mary Odili dismissed a similar appeal brought against the Agency by a convicted trafficker, Martina Opara who was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

 

Land Control: Supreme Court Throws Out FG Suit Against Lagos

The Supreme Court has struck out a suit filed by the Federal Government seeking an order to seize control and management of its land in Lagos State from the state government.

After upholding the preliminary objection filed by the Lagos Government to challenge the competence of the suit, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, unanimously struck out the Federal Government’s suit.

The dispute between the federal and Lagos State governments was about “general control and management of federal land within Lagos State particularly the re-issuance of certificates of occupancy, granting consent or exercising rights of ownership.”

Justice Dattijo Muhammad, who read the apex court’s lead ruling, agreed with the Lagos State Government that the court lacked the power to exercise its “original jurisdiction” in the suit because the Federal Government had “transferred its title in the land to others”.

Supreme Court Orders High Court To Retry Sen Dahiru’s Case

The Supreme Court Friday declined to remove Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from office.

Instead, the appellate court ruled that a case filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru challenging the nomination of Tambuwal as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 2015 governorship election be retried at the Federal High Court.

Dahiru contested for the governorship election in the December 2014 primaries of the APC, but lost to Tambuwal, who eventually went on to win the gubernatorial poll conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in April 2015 and was subsequently sworn-in as Governor on May 29 of the same year.

Friday’s ruling followed an earlier judgement given by the Supreme Court in June this year which dismissed application by the Sokoto State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s governorship candidate, Senator Abdallah Wali, to be joined as parties to Dahiru’s suit.

In a judgement written by Hon Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammed JSC and read by Hon Justice CC Nweze JSC, the court held that rather than consider the case as mere academic exercise, the High Court should retry the case on its merit.

Counsel to Tambuwal, Paul M. Kassim Esq, who led six other lawyers, said the defence are are satisfied with the ruling and will get set for trial at the Federal High Court.

“Our position remains unchanged, that our client was validly nominated by the APC and was duly elected Governor by the good people of Sokoto State,” he told reporters after the judgement.

In the June ruling by now retired Justice Sulaiman Galadima JSC, the Supreme Court held that PDP and Wali lacked the locus standi to apply to be joined in the suit, describing the two as interlopers who should not take part in a matter purely involving another party.

Even though Sokoto PDP had announced that they will not challenge the election of Tambuwal in 2015, they however, through case number SC/67/2016, sought to be joined as parties in Dahiru’s suit on the grounds that if it succeeds, Wali should be declared winner of the election.

In a notice of motion for joinder filed at the apex court by EK Ashiekaa SAN, Wali and PDP contended that having participated in the 2015 governorship election, and having scored the next highest number of votes cast after that of Tambuwal, they have sufficient grounds to be joined in the case.

They said the reliefs sought by Dahiru would have an effect on the outcome of the Sokoto governorship election by creating a vacuum.

“That the vacuum likely to be created by the success of the Appellants appeal can only be filled by the applicant who scored the next highest returned votes,” they argued.

Justice Galadima however struck out the application, foreclosing any move by the PDP to get APC removed from power in Sokoto through the back door.

No date yet has been set for hearing on the interlocutory appeal filed by Senator Umar Dahiru challenging the ruling of the Appeal Court which held that his case at the Federal High Court against Tambuwal’s emergence as APC candidate for the April 2015 governorship election could not proceed since it has been overtaken by events and will be a mere academic exercise if it proceeds.