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Importer Agent, Ifeanyi Ezenwabachili Faces N36m Fraud Charges

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The Nigeria Police has arraigned an importer agent, Ifeanyi Ezenwabachili, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, on alleged conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence the sum of about N28m and over $17k.

Ifeanyi Ezenwabachili, was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo led-court, by the men of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (ForceCID Annex) Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, on the alleged offences.

Arraigning the defendant, the police counsel, Morufu Animashaun, told the court that Ezenwabachili and others now at large, sometimes in 2021, fraudulently obtained the above mentioned sum from one Festus Egwuim and his business partner.

Animashaun while asking court to take the defendant plea, informed the court that Ezenwabachili obtained a total sum of N27,920 million, under the pretence of clearing 10 forty-feet containers loads of spare parts, through one Emeka Okoli Canice’s account.

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He also informed the court that the defendant obtained the sum of $17,360 USD, from Festus Egwuim’s business partner in China, under the pretence of clearing two containers, but fraudulently converted the money to his personal use.

The defendant however denied the charges and pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Following his plea of not guilty, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date. While equally urged the court to remand him in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charge.

But the defendant’s counsel led by Mr. Abdullahi Anthony Dania, while moving the defendant’s bail application, urged the court to grant him bail in the most liberal terms.

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Dania particularly pleaded with the court to release his client to him on the ground of ill-health, so that he could have adequate medical attention.

In his ruling, Justice Oweibo admitted bail to the defendant in the sum N5 million with one surety in like sum.

The surety according to the judge, must be a land owner with title documents within the court’s jurisdiction. And that the surety must depose to affidavit of means.

The judge however released the defendant to his counsel for the period of two weeks, after which he will be remanded in NCoS’custody if he failed to meet up with the bail terms.

The defendant’s offences contravened Sections Section 8 (a); 1(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Fraud Offences Act 2006 Act 2006 (as amended) and are punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

It also contravenes Section 383 of the Criminal Code Act Cap.C38, Laws of Federis ation 2004 and punishable under Section 390 of the same Criminal Code Act Cap.C38 Laws of Federation 2004.

 

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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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FG Urges Institute To Make Nigeria The Seat of Arbitration

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The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has called for the establishment of more arbitration institutions and inclusion of other forms of dispute resolution in schools curricular especially at the tertiary level.

Mr Malami made this call in a keynote address delivered at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators in Lagos.

Mr Malami, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Mr Larry Nwudu, and his deputy Motunrayo Odeditan, also urged legal practitioners to make Nigeria the seat of arbitration, especially where the subject matter of the dispute involved the country.

This, he said, will not only promote arbitration practice in Nigeria but also enhanced tourism and create a notable surge in foreign direct investment which would in turn boost the nation’s economy.

Click To Read: Justice of Supreme Court Task Judicial Officers To Be Upright

Malami promised that government on its part would ensure the growth of arbitration by encouraging autonomy of arbitration organization in a bid to make the country become an international arbitration centre.

Contributing, a Supreme Court Justice, Chima Nweze, stated that with the available arbitration laws and institutions in Africa, it was safe to conclude that Africa had achieved reasonable strides towards becoming an investment-friendly and resolution environment.

Justice Nweze, however, said that there is need for African governments to conscientiously drive infrastructural
development that provides safe and efficient cities.

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In a remark, the President and Chairman of council, NICArb, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, said it was commendable that the federal government had heeded the call by arbitration and ADR practitioners and the need to update arbitration laws.

He noted that the NICArb Annual Arbitration/ADR Conference has become a strong platform for practitioners to discuss prospects and resolve challenges of dispute resolution outside the courts.

The theme of the two-day conference was “The Future of Arbitration and ADR in Africa: Developments and Sustainability.”

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Court Restrains FG & Airlines Operator From Further Taking Action Over Nigeria Air

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The Federal High Court in Lagos, has renewed its order directing the Federal Government and domestic airlines to maintain the status quo in their suit concerning the establishment of a proposed national carrier called Nigeria Air.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa made the order pending the determination of the suit filed by The Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria and five others in the aviation industry.

The four other plaintiffs are Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited and Topbrass Aviation Limited are the first to sixth plaintiffs.

The first to fourth defendants are Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Sen. Hadi Sirika (Minister of Aviation, Federal Ministry of Aviation) and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The judge adjourned proceedings till February 13.

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However, two intervenors/applicants filed an application praying the court to strike out the name of The Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria as a party in a suit arguing that its inclusion in the suit “is invalid”

On November 15, the court granted the plaintiffs an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines from proceeding with the establishment of Nigeria Air Limited.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa also ordered all parties to the suit to maintain the status quo following the plaintiffs’ motion ex parte in Suit FHC/L/CS/2159/2022.

At the resumption of proceedings Thursday, Mr. Nureni Jimoh, SAN, appeared for the Airline Operators.

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Jimoh’s bid to move his motion on notice for an injunction against the defendants was opposed by Mr. Seun Oriowo for Nigeria Air and Minister of Aviation, Mr. Raji Rasaki for the AGF and Mr. Ajibola Salisu for the intervening applicants.

The judge turned down Rasaki’s argument for an adjournment for lawyers from the AGF’s Abuja office to take over the defence, rather than those from its Lagos office.

Mr. Bassey Attol for Ethiopian Airlines informed the court that he had filed a response to Jimoh’s application, while Salisu’s prayer for an adjournment was opposed by Jimoh, on the ground that “the intervening applicants are not a party to this suit. They interlopers here to disrupt proceedings.”

In his ruling, Justice Lewis-Allagoa held: “I’ve reviewed all the applications before me. In the circumstances, the proper thing to do is for the parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of this suit.”

The court thereafter adjourned till February 13, 2023.

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Oil Firm Tells Judge To Recuse Self Over Alleged Meeting With Bawa

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An oil firm Nadabo Energy Ltd, has asked a judge of an Ikeja High Court, Justice Christopher Balogun, to recuse himself from further presiding over a suit with case number ID/118C/2012, for allegedly meeting with Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa,the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The allegations of bias were made in an affidavit in support of a Motion on Notice sworn by Abubakar Peters, the Managing Director, Nadabo Energy Ltd and a defendant in the suit.

According to the affidavit, Bawa on March 31, minutes after giving evidence before the court had allegedly held a meeting with Balogun the presiding judge in the office of Justice Kazeem Alogba, the Chief Judge of Lagos State.

Peters in the affidavit noted that several online publications including ThisDay Newspaper widely reported the meeting and the EFCC, through their official Facebook page did not deny the meeting but rather described it as a “routine and courtesy visit”.

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He said that the outrage that generated over the meeting has cast doubt on the expected neutrality of Balogun to be an unbiased umpire in adjudicating the case.

According to Peters, Bawa was a Principal Superintendent of the EFCC, when he investigated the N1.4billion subsidy fraud allegations against him and as a result of his investigations, Bawa now elevated to the post of Chairman of the anti-graft agency is the star witness in the case.

Bawa commenced his evidence-in-chief as PW5 on the June 3, 2015 and did not conclude till Dec. 20, 2021.

According to the affidavit:”At the conclusion of his evidence-in-chief, the cross-examination by the defence counsel commenced immediately on the Dec. 20, 2021. He subsequently testified under cross examination on Jan. 25, March 31 2022 and May 18, 2022.

“After the court proceedings of the March 31, 2022, I did not immediately leave the High Court premises at Ikeja, Lagos State.

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“On my way to the car park within the premises of the court , few minutes after case number ID/118C/2012, wherein I’ am standing trial was adjourned to 17 and 18 May, 2022, I saw the trial judge, Hon. Justice C. A. Balogun exiting the office of the Chief Judge of the High Court of Lagos State.

“Few days after March 31, 2022, I read it in the news media of the visit of Abdulrasheed Bawa to the office of the Chief Judge of the Lagos High Court with a Registrar from the chambers of the trial judge (Balogun) just immediately after he had testified under cross-examination as PW5 on March 31, 2022.”

Responding, the EFCC in an counter-affidavit deposed to by Mr Samuel Daji, a Legal Officer which was made available to NAN, denied the allegations of bias.

The anti-graft agency denied Bawa visited and held a meeting with the trial judge.

The EFCC, however, admitted that its Executive Chairman had a meeting with the Chief Judge of Lagos State on the said day.

Click To Read: Lawyer Writes CJ Over Delay Justice on Missing Vehicle In Judiciary Possession

“Visit of the Executive Chairman of the EFCC to the Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba, the Chief Judge of Lagos State on March 31, 2022 was a routine scheduled courtesy visit which is a normal practice amongst heads of government institutions.

“There is no fact to show that Hon. Justice Balogun was at the meeting between the Hon. Justice of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba and the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa on the said day, ” the EFCC said.

Peters and his firm, NADABO Energy Ltd are being tried by the EFCC on a 27-count charge bordering on using forged documents to obtain N1.4billiom from the Federal Government as an oil subsidy.

The trial began on Dec. 10, 2012, and the EFCC has so far called five prosecution witnesses.

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