A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, presided over by Justice Agatha Okeke has given Senator Albert Bassey, the nod to appeal its earlier ruling, rejecting the Senator’s no- case- submission.
Bassey is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a six-count charge of alleged money laundering and for being in possession of six vehicles worth N204 million, provided by one Olajide Omokoro whose companies allegedly executed contracts for the Akwa Ibom State government.
The EFCC had through its counsel, M. S. Abubakar, closed its case after calling several witnesses and tendered documents which were admitted in evidence.
However, when the matter came up on March 8, 2021, the defendant rather than enter his defence, introduced two motions, one for a no-case submission and the other asking the court to quash the charges against him.
But Abubakar opposed both motions and asked the court to reject the applications.
Ruling on the applications on March 8, the Court upheld the argument of the prosecution and dismissed the two applications as “incompetent” and ordered the defendant to enter his defence.
The matter was thereafter adjourned till April 29 and 30, 2021.
Dissatisfied by the ruling, the defence initiated fresh process, seeking leave of the court to appeal the ruling of March 8.
When the matter came up on Monday March 22, 2021, the defence counsel, I. F. Ukpah prayed the court to grant their prayers. The Court granted the request as prayed.
Similarly, the same court adjourned the trial of Uzoma Udemba, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Communication Trends Limited to March 24, 2021, for ruling on a no-case-submission filed by the defendant and two others.
Udember is being prosecuted by the Uyo zonal office of the EFCC alongside his company, Communication Trends Limited and one Samuel Onyeanuforo for allegedly rebroadcasting the English Premier League matches without the permission of the MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the rights owner.
The prosecution, through its counsel, Nwandu Ukoha closed its case on February 25, 2021, after calling three witnesses who tendered documents that were admitted in evidence.
N100m Snatched As Armed men Attack Finance Ministry
The office is adjacent to the state’s Accountant General’s, where personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigeria Police Force were stationed.
They were, however, not able to prevent the operation.
According to report, an eyewitness, who sought anonymity, informed that the suspected armed robbers trailed officials of the ministry from a commercial bank in Lafia where they went to withdraw cash to pay casual workers of the ministry.
The eyewitness said: “But it was in the ministry’s premises that the well-armed gunmen snatched the N100 million from the finance ministry’s officials while trying to dislodge the cash from the vehicle that was conveying it to the cash room.
“In the process of snatching the said amount of money, the gunmen shot sporadically in the air that the ministry’s officials carrying the money and other staff within the premises laid down low paving the way for the gunmen to snatch the N100 million effortlessly.”
He said the robbery was successful because the ministry did not engage the services of security agencies.
The state’s Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Mr Haruna Ogbole, who confirmed the robbery incident in a telephone interview, said that investigation was ongoing.
Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Fraud
United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement on Wednesday said court documents show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20.
A version of Hushpuppi’s plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in a school finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.
Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said Hushpuppi allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off.
Wilkison stated that Hushpuppi played “a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means.”
Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said Hushpuppi “among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans.
“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” Johnson said in the DoJ statement.
Hushpuppi and members of his gang were arrested while sleeping at their Dubai residences in June 2020.
The Nigerian fraudster was arrested along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.
Alleged N29bn Fraud: You Have A Case To Answer, Court Tells Nyako, Son
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Murtala Nyako (retd.) to enter his defence in the alleged N29 billion money laundering charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Justice Abang gave the order on Monday while ruling on the no-case submission filed by the former Adamawa governor, his son Abdul-Aziz and other defendants in the matter.
The other defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.
The judge said that he had painstakingly perused the evidence given by the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution and was of the view that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants.
“I have calmly, carefully, and painstakingly scrutinised the evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses in chief and under cross-examination including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants.
“I have again carefully and painstakingly considered the evidence of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and the extrajudicial statements of the defendants.
“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all the counsel for the defendants, their written and oral arguments, and the argument of the prosecution in this ruling.
“It is my humble but firm view that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants and they are required to enter their defence immediately.”
The judge held that the no-case submission filed by the defendants lacked merit and he accordingly dismissed it.
He adjourned the matter until October 4, October 5, October 7, and October 8 for the defendants to open their case.
The EFCC is prosecuting the former governor and his son, Abdul-Aziz; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, over money laundering offences.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office, and money laundering.
The trial began on July 7, 2015, and the anti-graft agency closed its case on November 3, 2019, having called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.
Instead of opening their defence, the defendants elected to file a no-case submission in which they argued that the facts adduced by all the witnesses called by the prosecution did not prove the allegation against them.
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