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JUSUN to Suspend Strike After NJC Assures of Compliance

JUSUN promises to suspend strike and resume work on Monday after NJC assures of compliance and implementation of the MOU signed by Governors’ Forum

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The National Judicial Council, NJC, has set up a five-man committee to monitor the compliance of the memorandum of action (MoA) signed between the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on financial autonomy for the Judiciary.

The NJC took the decision after its meeting with leaders of JUSUN and some other stakeholders, during which it demand an end to the over two-month strike by court workers in view of its impact on the nation’s court system and appeals from other stakeholders.

NJC’s spokesman, Soji Oye, in a statement, said the NJC, led by its Chairman and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, at the Tuesday’s meeting, prevailed on the striking court workers to put an end to the industrial action.

The statement reads in part: “Sequel to the prolonged strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and its effect on the Judiciary and the Nation at large, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR convened an emergency meeting of council on Tuesday 8 June 2021 with the Chief Judges of states, the JUSUN Executive members as well as Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of the Implementation Committee with a view to finding a lasting solution to the lingering strike.

Read Also: Group Want Court To Halt Justices Nomination

The Chief Justice of Nigeria and other stakeholders during the interface lamented that the strike had affected the Judiciary in particular and the nation at large and therefore sought for a way to resolve the lingering issue.

The Deputy President of JUSUN, Emmanuel Abiri, who briefed the Council on behalf of the Executive members of the association, during the stakeholders meeting, explained that the grouse of the union was that despite the constitutional provision of sections 81 (3), 121 (3), 162 (9) and the judgement delivered since 2015 in favour of JUSUN, the Executive Order 10 of 2020 and the agreement reached between the union, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Governors have refused to yield financial autonomy to the State Judiciary.

He added that the Union’s other grievances include; non-payment of peculiar allowance for Judiciary Staff; attempt by the Kaduna State Governor to place the State Judiciary under its Civil Service and scheming for a State Judicial Council.

He posited that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was merely playing politics with the Constitution and had also failed to remit the one-month payment agreed on at the end of May as a demonstration of their good faith.

Mr Abiri suggested that if the Forum could renege in fulfilling its promise at the end of the month of May, there was no guarantee that it would not in June.

Also Read: Ondo CJ Suit Against Governor Akeredolu Suffers Set Back

He therefore requested that the Accountant-General of the Federation be directed to deduct from source the amount meant for the Judiciary before the Union could call off the strike.

The council thereafter set up a five-man committee in order to monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Action signed between the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and JUSUN.

The development which led to the national executive of JUSUN assuring NJC to put an end to strike and resume work on Monday, June 14.

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 Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with 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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CRIME

N25.7 Billion Bank Fraud: Court Convicts Francis Atuche

N25.7 Billion Bank Fraud, Court Convicts former Managing Director of Bank PHB, now Keystone Bank, Francis Atuche and his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu

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A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentence the former Managing Director of Bank PHB, now Keystone Bank, Francis Atuche to six years imprisonment over N25.7 billion fraud charges.

Delivering judgement after 13hours long analysis of the each count charge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu found Atuche and his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu guilty as charge.

She sentence Anyanwu to four years imprisonment on each count charge consecutively.

They were convicted for 21 out 27 counts charges.

The judge however discharged and acquitted Atuche’s wife noting that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy allegations levelled against her in the charges.

The judge noted that Atuche abused his position of trust by stealing from the bank.

“By stealing from the bank, they stole from innocent customers.

“I hereby make an Order of restitution against the first and third defendants to refund the sums stated in counts one to 11, 14 and 24.

Also Read: N450m Money Laundering: Bulama Others To Face Fresh Trial

“The sums are to paid to the relevant agencies that recovered funds on behalf of the bank.

Justine Okunnu said Atuche and Anyanwu were able to defraud Bank PHB of billions of Naira using well recognised stock brokers to transfer money belonging to the bank under the guise of loans and shares.

“It was a well planned, well executed scheme but the bubble burst when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened” she noted.

The judge also noted that a large volume of documentary evidence was produced by parties in the case.

She said documents such as bank records, emails and the statements of key actors in the case played a key role in securing the conviction of the defendants.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2011 arraigned Atuche, his wife and the then financial officer of the moribund bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, over the alleged fraud.

The commission in the charge sheet which was read to the former bank executives alleged that they committed the offence between November 2007 and September 2008.

Read Also: Baba Ijesha Saga: Lagos Reiterate Zero Tolerance To Child Molestation

EFCC alleged that the accused persons sold 241, 579, 284 units of Afribank shares, a joint property of Caverton Helicopters Ltd, and Bank PHB Plc and converted the proceeds for their personal use.

The three accused persons were alleged to have fraudulently converted some of the stolen money into loans to Congipar Nig. Ltd and using same for their personal use.

The EFCC claims the alleged offences contravene Sections 516 and 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C17, Laws of Lagos State, 2003. .

In the charge against Atuche’s wife Elizabeth, she was alleged to have stolen N8.5 billion belonging to the bank between November, 2007 and April, 2008.

The EFCC alleged that Mrs Atuche fraudulently converted the proceeds of several loans for the acquisition of 337,500,000 and 168,750,000 units of Bank PHB shares on behalf of Ghazali Yakubu Investment Limited and AFCO Associates Limited.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 519 and 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C17, Laws of Lagos State 2003.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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After about three years into the trial, Atuche and co-defendants approached Court of Appeal to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.

In a judgement delivered in September 2016, the Appellate Court stopped the lower court from going ahead with the trial.

The appellate court also failed to quash the charges against Atuche, his wife and others but ordered Justice Okunnu to hands off the trial.

The appellate court further directed the Chief Judge of Lagos State to re-assign the case to another judge.

Following the decision of the court of appeal, the EFCC approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and order trial in the matter.

In an unanimous decision, the apex court overturned the decision of the appellate court.

The panel agreed that the lower court’s decisions on the matter was “perverse” and, therefore ought to be set aside.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who prepared and read the lead judgment of the apex court, said the order which the Court of Appeal made on September 23, 2016, for the remittance of case to the Lagos State Chief Judge for the purpose of re-assigning the case to another judge, was not aimed at serving the interest of justice.

 

 

 

 

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CRIME

Sexual Assault: Magistrate Denies Baba Ijesha Bail for Lack of Jurisdiction

Sexual Assault: Magistrate Denies Baba Ijesha Bail for Lack of Jurisdiction to hear a similar matter pending at the state High Court

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The Police have arraigned embattled Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, before a Lagos State Chief Magistrate Court in Yaba over the sexual assault case against him.

Baba Ijesha has been under media trial since April 22, 2021, when the Lagos State Police Command announced his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the care of popular comedienne, Adekola Adekanya, otherwise called Princess.

The Police were unable to institute charges against him in court due to the industrial action embarked on by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN.

As the judicial workers called off their strike last week and resumes activities yesterday, Baba Ijesha was brought to court today for the hearing of the case.

Read Also: Lagos Set to Replace Igbosere High Court With Digitalize Court

Baba Ijesha who pleaded not guilty to the charges was however denied bail due to lack of jurisdiction because the state government through Department of Public Prosecutions, DPP, had filed same case at the High court.

He was charged with indecent treatment of a child, defilement of a child, sexual assault by penetration, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault – which contravenes Sections 135, 137, 261, 202, 262 and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.

The Prosecutor S. A Adebesin informed the court that an information had been filed before the High Court.

Responding Baba Ijesha lawyer, Kayode Olabiran made a fresh application for bail of the Mr. Olanrewaju.

In a short ruling, the Magistrate noted that Baba Ijesha will remain in detention till he would be tried at the High Court.

Magistrate Nwaka directed that full medical attention should be accorded to the actor who had complained about his state of health when dock.

Also Read: Bank Boss, Atuche, Knows Faith Today Over N25.7 Billion Fraud

The matter was thereafter adjourned till July 21 for further directives.

Baba Ijesha colleagues like Yomi Fabiyi and other supporters as well as family members were seeing in court in solidarity with him

Fabiyi, while speaking with reporters, said, “I am in court because I believe in the rule of law and I have right to come to the court and observe the case.

“The young man is my colleague; I cannot deny him at this stage, I am too refined for that.

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BUSINESS

Bank Boss, Atuche, Knows Faith Today Over N25.7 Billion Fraud

Bank Boss of the defunct PHB, Francis Atuche, knows faith today over alleged N25.7 Billion Fraud level against him by the EFCC before Ikeja High Court after three years of trial.

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Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja is currently reading judgement in the N25.7 billion fraud suit against former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc Francis Atuche, and his wife Elizabeth.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2011 arraigned Atuche, his wife and the then financial officer of the moribund bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, over the alleged fraud.

After about three years into the trial, Atuche and co-defendants approached Court of Appeal to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.

In a judgement delivered in September 2016, the Appellate Court stopped the lower court from going ahead with the trial.

The appellate court also failed to quash the charges against Atuche, his wife and others but ordered Justice Okunnu to hands off the trial.

Read Also: Conman, Emmanuel Nwude Open Defense in Fraud Trial

The appellate court further directed the Chief Judge of Lagos State to re-assign the case to another judge.

Following the decision of the court of appeal, the EFCC approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and order trial in the matter.

In an unanimous decision, the apex court overturned the decision of the appellate court.

The panel agreed that the lower court’s decisions on the matter was “perverse” and, therefore ought to be set aside.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who prepared and read the lead judgment of the apex court, said the order which the Court of Appeal made on September 23, 2016, for the remittance of case to the Lagos State Chief Judge for the purpose of re-assigning the case to another judge, was not aimed at serving the interest of justice.

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