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Court orders Saraki’s Ilorin houses forfeited to FG

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday secured an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos for the forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State belonging to a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The EFCC told the court it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the state.

Based on an ex parte application filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties designated as Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State.

An operative of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, said in an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application that the move for the forfeiture of the houses followed the findings of the EFCC after investigation and “the report of a committee set up to review sales of Kwara State Government during the reign of the Governor of Kwara State in the year 2003 and 2011.”

He said the EFCC also received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011.”

Sadiq said, “Whilst the investigation was ongoing several fraudulent transactions were discovered.

“I know for a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following mind-boggling findings, among others:

“That between 2003 and 2011, Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.

“That whilst he held the aforementioned position, the common pattern was that after payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m will be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.

“That upon the payment of the said N100m, same will, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”

The EFCC said it believed that Saraki developed the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activities.

Counsel for the commission, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Aikawa to order their temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.

After granting the order as prayed, Justice Aikawa directed the EFCC to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper and adjourned till December 17 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

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Mompha released on N200m bail

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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court has granted Instagram celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, bail of N200 million.

Mompha was rearrested last week Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and was first re-arraigned in court last Wednesday, January 14.

While granting his bail application today January 18, the court requested he provides two sureties, one of which must own a property valued at N100 million within its jurisdiction.

Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N32.9bn brought against him by the EFCC.

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Nnamdi Kanu: Imo residents observe sit-at-home for IPOB leader’s trial

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Residents of Imo State, especially Orlu town and Owerri municipal, on Tuesday, stayed indoors to observe the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in solidarity with its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who appeared in court today.

It was gathered that the state secretariat, motor parks, schools, banks, shops and markets across the major cities were all shut down.

Even the Imo State University junction, Government House Roundabout, Control Post Roundabout, Warehouse junction Roundabout, Ikenegbu, Mbari, Douglas, Okigwe Road, and Wethedral Roads, were scanty.

In Orlu, the ever-busy Banana junction and Okwudo junction were more like ghost towns.

A journalist, Mr Martin Nwoke, in Owerri North Local Government Area of the state, made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu.

He said Imolites and the people of southeast states were the ones suffering the heat of the order.

Nwoke said, “In this part of the world, everything we do here involves money. I am begging President Buhari to pity us and free Nnamdi Kanu.”

A lawyer, Barr. Emeka Obi, told our correspondent that he could not go to file a court process due to non-availability of transport, while children, who could not go to school, resorted to playing football on the streets at Akwakuma.

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Court adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s trial

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The Court declined to take his plea in the 15-count terrorism charges instituted against him by the Federal Government.

He accused the government of ambushing him with the fresh charges served on him late Monday.

Kanu, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleged that the government has breached the principle of fair hearing with the way and manner the new charge was brought to them.

At the resumed trial, Ozekhome complained that the fresh charge was the sixth in the series adding that his client cannot proceed to take a plea in the charges he has not studied to prepare for defence as required by law.

“My Lord, as I am talking now, Kanu does not know the charge yet. He is just interacting with me. He cannot be made to take a plea to charges he has not seen.

“The principle of fair hearing is just being violated by the Federal Government. The frail-looking Kanu standing in the dock there has not been allowed to access his family as directed by this honourable court,” he said.

In addition, Ozekhome claimed that the proof of evidence was not legible enough for their understanding of the fresh charges.

“I went to DSS to see him and I was almost stripped naked before I could see him.

“We pray that the arraignment is adjourned till tomorrow to enable his lawyers to study the new charge along with him in the interest of justice,” he added.

The request for adjournment was not opposed by Mr Shuaib Labaran who stood for the Federal Government, prompting Justice Binta Nyako to fix tomorrow for the arraignment.

The judge ordered that Kanu and his lawyers be allowed to have an interface in the courtroom before taking him to DSS custody.

Earlier, Kanu had, through his lawyer, complained of poor feeding, clothing and denial to practice the religion of his choice.

Justice Nyako in response reminded him that the detention facility is not a five-star hotel but however ordered that Kanu be allowed to come to court tomorrow in new clothes.

The judge declined the request that a foreign lawyer, Mr Bruce Fein, be allowed into the courtroom to observe the trial adding that the request would be granted upon a written application and approval by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

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