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Arms Fraud: EFCC Institute charges Against ex Army chief, Kenneth Minimah

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has instituted criminal charge against the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, retd, over alleged diversion of about fourteen billion naira meant for procurement of arms.

Others listed as Defendants in the charge before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, are a one-time Chief of Accounts and Budget of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. A. O. Adetayo, as well as the former Director, Finance and Accounts of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier Gen. R. I. Odi.

EFCC, in processes filed in court, said it had on August 15, 2016, received a report by the Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces (CADEP) from 2007- 2015, chaired by AVM Jon Ode (rtd).

It said the report, alleged that between 2010 and 2015, several billions of Naira were received by the Nigerian Army from the Federal Government for procurement of Military hard-wares and were discovered to have been misappropriated by Senior Army Officers.

The anti-graft agency told the court that in the course of investigation conducted, it was revealed that the sum of Thirteen Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Six Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Nine Naira (N13,798,619,309) was misappropriated by the following persons: Lt. Gen. KTJ Minimah (rtd), the former Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. A.O Adetayo, one-time Chief of Accounts and Budget, Nigerian Army and then Colonel R.I Odi, former Director, Finance and Accounts, Nigerian Army”.

Read Also: EFCC Narrates How SMS Extract From Naira Marley iPhone Exposes Fraud

“The sums were transferred from various accounts belonging to the Nigerian Army and moved to company accounts of entities that had no business relations with the Nigerian Army.

“This caused huge loss to the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the unlawful gains made by the aforementioned Officers who converted the monies for their personal use.

“The legal advice on the investigation opined that a prima facie case has been sustained against the officers,” EFCC added.

It said the outcome of the investigation led to the filing of charges against the three officers fingered in the alleged fraud.

Consequently, EFCC, said it wrote the Nigerian Army, requesting the three officers to make themselves available for arraignment it said would have taken place since September 15, 2020.

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Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 9, to hear a suit the three Defendants filed to challenge the legal propriety of the charge against them.

The Defendants, through their team of lawyers led by Mr. Mahmud Magaji, SAN, are praying the court to determine;

“Whether in view of Sections 6(3), (5) (a), 240 and 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8(3), 123, 124, 126(1), (2) 8. (4) and 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not subject to be charged arraigned and /or prosecuted only by a Court Martial as a Court of first instance, to the exclusion of any other trial Court, viz: the Federal High Court, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, and High Court of States, in respect of any offence committed by them.

“Whether in view of Section 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (the 2nd Defendant) or any other prosecuting agency can Iawfully investigate, charge, arraign and/or prosecute the Plaintiffs.

“Whether by virtue of Sections 123, 124(1) 8(3) and 126(1), (2) 8. (4) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not to be reported in the form of a charge to their commanding officer after the investigation of any allegation against them.

“Whether in view of Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8(3), 124(3), and 126(1), (2) and (4) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs can validly be charged arraigned and/or prosecuted under any other law other than the Arm Forces Act, Cap.A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Also Read: Alleged N7bn Fraud: Defence Counsel Forestall Trial of Former MD, NAMA

“Whether by virtue of Sections 6(3) 8(5) (a) 240 and 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 129 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not subjected to Court Martial in respect of offences (if any) committed by them.

“Whether in view of Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8. (3), 123, 124, 126(1), (2) 8(4) and 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, any Court other than Court Martial can entertain any charge against any of the Plaintiffs”.

They bemoaned that EFCC, for concluding that there is a prima facie case against them.

The embattled Generals argued that the Audit Committee on alleged misappropriation of procurement of Military hardwares, only referred the case to the 2nd Defendant (EFCC) for further investigation and not to proceed to file criminal charges against the Plaintiffs.

Insisting that they are still subject to service law (the Armed Forces Act), the Plaintiffs, argued that, if any military officer under the service law of the Nigerian Army commit an offence, it is reported in form of a charge to the commanding officer of the accused person for investigation and trial if necessary.

“That Nigeria Army has its rules and statutory mechanisms for the administration of Criminal Justice.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and he is the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

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Osun LG Caretaker Appointees: Court Overrule Gov Oyetola

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An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola in the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Osun PDP had filed a suit challenging the legality of the State government appointing caretaker committee members instead of organising a local government election.

The Osun PDP held that conducting a local government election would afford other political parties the opportunity to participate in the political process.

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Led by Adebayo Alade, its lead counsel in suit number Hos/M.39/2021 instituted by the PDP against the governor and 74 others on the constitutionality of the caretaker committee, Justice Ayo Oyebiyi dismissed Oyetola’s objection.

The PDP, which argued that the appointment of the local government caretaker committee was in flagrant violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, added that such must not be allowed to stand.

The PDP as part of its prayer demanded that the court declare the appointment of the caretaker committee members as illegal and that those appointed should refund all the salaries and other financial entitlements they have taken from the local government purse.

The matter was adjourned for hearing on the substantive suit on September 23, 2022.

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N109.4bn Laundering: Court Revokes Usman Bail As AGF Frustrate Plea Bargains Arrangements

EFCC’s lawyer, Jacobs, SAN, told the court that the former AGF and his co-defendants had through a third party, requested to meet him to negotiate the plea bargain arrangement.

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Maitama, has revoked the bail it earlier granted to Mohammed Usman, who is the third defendant in the 14-count money laundering charge preferred against the former Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris.

EFCC alleged that Usman, who was the Director of the Federation Account, and one Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, in connivance with the erstwhile AGF, diverted public funds to the tune of about N109.4bn, using the account of a company, Gezawa Commodity Market & Exchange Limited, which is the third defendant in the matter.

At the resumption of trial, Justice Adeyemi Ajayi revoked his bail following his failure to arrive at the court room on time.

Usman was absent when the trial Judge entered the courtroom around 9:20am, though his lawyer, Ibrahim Ishaku, SAN, notified the court that he was held up in a gridlock.

Dissatisfied with the excuse, Justice Ajayi revoked the Defendant’s bail and ordered his remand at the Kuje prison.

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Meanwhile, the court was informed that AGF, Ahmed Idris, has approached the EFCC, for a plea bargain.

EFCC’s lawyer, Jacobs, SAN, told the court that the former AGF and his co-defendants had through a third party, requested to meet him to negotiate the plea bargain arrangement.

However, the counsel that represented the ex-AGF in court yesterday, Mr. Goddy Uche, SAN, insisted that his client and his co-defendants were at the EFCC office for the meeting but declined to go further with the negotiation after they were asked to go to the office of the EFCC chairman.

Uche, SAN, had before the EFCC lawyer revealed that the defendant sought a plea bargain, alleged that the defendants were summoned by the anti-graft agency, a development he said made it impossible for him to discuss the issue of purported confessional statements the prosecution intended to tender in evidence before the court, with his client.

Read Also: Police Arraigns Businesswoman Over Stealing of 99pcs of Iphone

Consequently, following applications by the defence lawyers, led by Uche, SAN, and Ibrahim Ishiaku, SAN, trial Justice Adeyemi Ajayi adjourned further proceedings in the matter till October 4.

A plea bargain in a criminal trial is an arrangement that allows a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offence in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement for some charges to be dropped.

It enables both the prosecutor and the defendant to avoid a lengthy trial.

 

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Police Drags Notorious Political Thug To Court Over Alleged Murder

Oko-Ilu who is accused of terrorising the Ede community and its environment was arrested in Osogbo in the wee hours of Saturday.

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The Nigeria Police has docked a notorious political thug in Osun State, Hammed Rasheed, known as Oko-Ilu, before a Chief Magistrate Court in the state capital, Oshogbo.

Oko-Ilu who has been on the police wanted list in the state was brought to court before Magistrate Olufemi Ayilara on a nine count charges.

The charges borders on murder, unlawfully killing two persons, disruption of public peace, cultism and others.

He was charged with the death of Hassan Adedeji, one Idowu (A.K.A Delta) and the shooting of one Inspector Gbenga Eke.

The charge sheet brought to court by the Police Prosecutor, Inspector Elisha Olusegun was not read as the Magistrate did not take Oko-Ilu’s plea.

Read Also: Police Drag Ex-Amosun Deputy to Court over Stealing Land Document

The Magistrate, Ayilara, however ordered the Police to duplicate his case file and forwarded the same to Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.

The Chief Magistrate subsequently ordered the remand of Oko-Ilu at the Correctional Center in Ilesha pending the issuance of the legal advice.

Oko-Ilu who is accused of terrorising the Ede community and its environment was arrested in Osogbo in the wee hours of Saturday.

He was arrested in an operation conducted by Police in collaboration with men of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

Oko-Ilu, was being trailed by the security agents for allegedly causing the death of many people in the Ede community.

The case has been adjourned till October 7.

 

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