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Respite at last for Olisa Metuh as court admits him to N250m bail

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Respite at last for Olisa Metuh as court admits him to N250m bail


Respite has come the way of former National Publicity Secretary, of the Peoplesal Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh as the Federal High Court Abuja has admitted him to bail for N250 million.
Recall that Justice Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on February 25, 2020 sentenced Mr Metuh to seven years imprisonment after finding him and his firm, Destra Investment Limited, guilty of charges of money laundering involving the sum of N400 million they received from Mr Dasuki in 2014 preparatory to the 2015 general elections.

However the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Wednesday, December 16th nullified the seven-year jail sentence handed a former spokesman of the PDP), Olisa Metuh and therefore ordered fresh trial
The court held that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja was biased in handling the case of the former PDP spokesman.
Metuh, who held sway under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, was prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, alongside his company, Destra Investment, on a seven-count charge of diversion of illegal monies received from Sambo Dasuki, an ex-National Security Adviser.
The former spokesman was also accused of transacting with the sum of $2 million without going through a financial institution, in violation of a provision of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned before the court in January 2016.
The judge held that the earlier proceedings which led to Mr Metuh’s conviction were ”tainted and must not be allowed to stand”

Hiwever, Justice Nkeonye Maha gave the new order, in a ruling, following a motion on notice with charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016 dated and filed on Dec. 21 by a team of lawyers led by Dr Oyechi Ikpeazu, counsel to Metuh.
Justice Maha ruled that the surety must be a responsible citizen and owner of landed property/properties within the jurisdiction of the court which value should not be below the bail sum.
The judge ordered that once the bail conditions were perfected, the registry of the court shall bring the release warrant for her signature to order the Superintendent of Nigeria Correctional Service, Kuje, in whose custody Metuh was remanded to release him forthwith.
“That registry of this court shall verity the property/properties with the address of the surety and depose to affidavit of same.
“That original title deeds of the property/properties shall be deposited in the registry of this honourable court.
“That surety shall depose to an affidavit of means and submit recent passport of himself/herself for record purpose,” she held.
The judge also granted Metuh’s application to travel within and outside the jurisdiction of the court for 45 days only, beginning from the date of the order.
Maha, therefore, ordered the conditional release of Metuh’s international passport from the court registry as soon as the bail conditions were fulfilled.
“That applicant must immediately hand over his international passport to the Assistant Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court within three days from the date of his return.
“That lead senior counsel to the applicant will file an undertaking to ensure the return of the applicant’s international passport, in line with the above orders of court,” she ordered.
Metuh, through his team of lawyers led by Ikpeazu, had filed the motion on notice asking for an order abridging the time within which the application should be heard and to hear the application during the December vacation.
“An order granting leave to the applicant to bring this application, judgement having been delivered by the Court of Appeal nullifying the judgment of the Federal High Court on which the applicant is being detained in the charge.
“An order directing the release of the applicant from the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Kuje, Abuja. pending when he is re-arraigned before a court of law.
“An order directing that the applicant’s international passport be conditionally released to him to enable him visit his family residing in London upon his release.
“An order directing that until a condition for bail is made upon his re-arraignment, the applicant shall be at liberty to travel in order to see his family for intermittent periods of two months.
“And for such further order or orders as this honourable court shall deem fit to make in the circumstance,” the motion read in p

Justice Maha, after reading the 15 paragraphed affidavit in support of the motion and having taken into consideration Exhibit “A”, which was the enrolled order of the Court of Appeal and that the depositions in the affidavit supporting the application on notice was unchallenged in the proceedings by the prosecution counsel, Benjamin Maji, exercised her discretional power pursuant to Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to grant Metuh’s plea.

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NAPTIP to establish West Africa regional training academy in Nasarawa

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NAPTIP to establish West Africa regional training academy in Nasarawa

From Daniel Abel, Lafia

The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said it will establish a regional training academy for the entire West Africa in Nasarawa State.

Thr DG of NAPTIP, Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, made this known when she led her team on a courtesy call at the Lafia Government House yesterday.

Hajiya Suleiman commended governor, Abdullahi Sule for supporting the agency to carry out its mandate and for accepting the agency establish its regional training academy in the state.

Mrs, Suleiman explained that she was in the state to seek for collaboration with the government to stem the twin evil of human trafficking and irregular migration in the state and across the country.

She appealed to the state governments to setup task forces under the supervision of the state governors to consolidate the efforts of the agency.

According to her NAPTIP is setting up three state task forces in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau within the week to aggressively checkmate activities of trafficking in the region.

Responding, Governor, Abdullahi Sule, expressed gladness for the selecting the state as location for its regional training academy, stressing that the state deserves to host such facility mostly because of her proximity to the federal capital.

While assuring NAPTIP of the continued support of his administration, Mr. Sule said that the government is already looking for a site to commence the project in Karu Local Government Council.

The Governor assured that once the land is made available, government will immediately fence it for the agency.

Speaking on the mandate of the agency, Engineer Sule promised to reach out to his colleague Governors, to understand the importance of the protection of children, women and protection against rape.

Engineer Sule informed the delegation from the agency that already, the state has in place death penalty for rape cases to serve as deterrent to would-be rapists, even as he restated the commitment of his administration to fighting the evil.

“In Nasarawa State, we already signed the anti-rape law last year and we have already started working on that. We have also signed both the child’s protection and violence against women laws,” he stated.

The Governor was emphatic that with such laws in place, the state government is ready to work with NAPTIP.

Inaugurating the state taskforce on human trafficking, Sule expressed confidence that the committee will be prompt in carrying its responsibilities.

The taskforce comprises of the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice as Chairman, while the Zonal Commandant of NAPTIP will serve as Co-Chairman.

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Senator Bamidele denies taking any loan From Oceanic, Sterling Banks

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Senator Bamidele denies taking any loan From Oceanic, Sterling Banks

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who is the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, has denied taking any loan from either defunct Oceanic Bank or Sterling Bank as being insinuated in a section of the media.

The senator who represents Ekiti Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made the clarification on Thursday in a statement issued by his media office.

Bamidele said the matter is currently pending before a court of competent jurisdiction as he described the media report “as contemptuous of the court”.

He maintained that the whole development was “sponsored, politically motivated and maliciously aimed at maligning my image”

He disclosed that he had joined Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in the pending suit, in his bid to prove that the banks are the ones owing him instead.

“To set the record straight, Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (M. O.B.) never borrowed money or took any conventional loan from either Oceanic Bank, Sterling Bank or any Bank whatsoever which has become a subject of court litigation as insinuated.

“Neither does he have any large fund with Sterling Bank which a court ordered not to be released to him as maliciously reported.

“He maintained two accounts with Sterling Bank with balances of N25,000 and N7,000 each and both accounts have been dormant for over ten years”

“It is important to clarify that the case is in respect of a financial transaction way back since 2007 (thirteen years ago) between Sen. Bamidele and Oceanic Bank, which deceived him and many other innocent investors to invest their monies in shares to be managed by the Bank through its subsidiary company called Oceanic Capital.

“The Bank eventually mismanaged the invested funds as well as customers deposits, which, in fact, led to the collapse of the Bank while the shares equally lost value.

“In fact, it is public knowledge that the management of Oceanic Bank faced prosecution for mismanaging investors’ money.

“Contrary to the attempt by some political gladiators and pseudo online reporters to portray Sen.Bamidele as a debtor, he is proudly joining issues with AMCON in court, through his counter claim, to show that it is Oceanic Bank and its promoters who are owing him money as a good faith investor in the capital market through the mergin facility syndicated by the Bank,” he added.

According to him, the whole scenario is not far-fetched from those masquerading to malign his reputation ahead of the 2022 Ekiti Governorship Election and 2023 Presidential Elections.

End

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Autonomy for Judiciary has no alternative – Out-going Kogi CJ

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Autonomy for Judiciary has no alternative – Out-going Kogi CJ

By Friday Idachaba

Out-going Chief Judge of Kogi, Justice Henry Olusiyi has said that there is no alternative to the total independence and autonomy of the Judiciary if the third arm of government must discharge its functions creditably.

Olusiyi disclosed this in his speech at the valedictory court session held in his honour on his retirement as the Chief Judge of the state at the High Court complex on Monday in Lokoja.

The Chief Judge held that the Judiciary had the duty of ensuring that every citizen of the country lived a life of dignity and not deprived of “right to life” guaranteed to him under the Constitution.

“In a country which professes to follow the Rule of Law and the principle of Separation of Powers, there is no alternative to a totally Independent judiciary.

“All the three arms of government: The Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are expected to and must work together for achieving the goals set out in the constitution. There must be harmony between the three arms.

“The doctrine of Separation of Powers as enshrined in our Constitution is to ensure checks and balances among the three arms of government to avoid the abuse of power and the risk of one arm wielding absolute power to the detriment of the other arms.

“The rule of law is the fabric that holds society together. Any breach of the rule of law is a potential danger for the sustenance of law and order in the society. Court orders should be respected and complied with as a matter of course”, he said.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Mohammed (SAN) said the tenure of the Chief Judge, though short, was eventful as he was leaving with his footsteps in the sand.

Mohammed said that during the brief period of six months the Executive Arm of government in the state enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Judiciary under Justice Olusiyi.

Usman O. Sule (SAN), representing the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), said, posterity would be kind to Olusiyi as a forthright, fearless and independent minded Judge who delivered his judgements without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

Sule said the jurist had always ensured and showed that parties who appear before him go home happy with sound result of fair hearing, fair trial and sound judgement.

Mr Sam Owoyomi, chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lokoja branch, who spoke on behalf of other branches in the state described Olusiyi as a child of destiny who had fulfilled destiny.

He said that the Out-going Chief Judge was honest, bold, courageous, incorruptible, impartial judge of great characters and erudition.

Owoyomi urged the authorities to ensure full autonomy was granted the Judiciary.

Pioneer Chief Judge of the state, Justice Umaru Eri (rtd), the Grand Khadi of the state Sharia Court of Appeal, Justice Abdulkareem Aruwa and Justice Sunday Otu, delivered goodwill messages at the occasion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Olusiyi retired whose judicial career started in 1980 retired today, January 11 on attainment of the mandatory 65 years of age. (NAN)

FDJ/

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