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Alleged $5m Money Laundering: Chief judge re-assigns Ayo Fayose’s trial to another judge

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati has granted the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-assign the trial of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.  

 

Before the transfer, the EFCC had called 13 out of the 15 witnesses it listed in the trial which started last year November at the Federal High Court, Lagos and has enjoyed accelerated hearing.

 

The trial will now commence afresh before JusticeChuwkujekwu Aneke following the transfer of the case from the courtroom of Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.  By a letter dated May 23, 2019, and addressed to Justice Olatoregun, Justice Abdu-Kafarati wrote;

“I refer to the petition of EFCC on this case and your Lordships comments thereto. It is apparent that the prosecution has lost confidence in the judge trying this case and justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done, I hereby transfer this case to Hon. Justice C. J. Aneke for hearing.”

The letter was copied to Justice Aneke, the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, and the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation of the court, Ms. Clement Ende.  By a petition dated March 21, 2019, and signed by Magu, the EFCC had asked Justice Abdu-Kafarati to transfer the trial to another judge of the court. Magu noted that EFCC was withdrawing its confidence in the trial judge, Justice Olatoregun after an altercation between her and the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs in open court on the 20th of March, 2019.

 

On the said day, Justice Olatoregun was said to have engaged in unrestrained, unprovoked, and unwarranted vituperations against the prosecuting counsel which the petition says are indicative of the fact that she has an axe to grind with Mr Jacobs and the EFCC.  The petition said further that with this recent attitude, hostility and intimidation, the judge has confirmed the fears and doubts of the Civil Society Organisations and has made the commission agree with them that it cannot get justice on the case in her court.

 

The petition concluded by saying that, it is obvious that Justice Olatoregun cannot dispassionately and transparently try the case and the EFCC is constrained to state that it has lost confidence in her ability to do so. The EFCC, therefore, requests a transfer of the case to another judge of the court for trial  In his reaction to the EFCC’s move, Fayose’s counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) had said the petition was misconceived, unsustainable and frivolous.

 

He described the petition as a subtle attempt to intimidate and stampede the court into doing what EFCC liked or wanted in disregard of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 and the right of the first defendant, Fayose to expeditious hearing of his case, as well as the need to avoid wasting public funds and scarce judicial time on de-novo trial. No party in a criminal case should be allowed to choose or determine the Judge to hear its or his case. Granting such a request for transfer will constitute a dangerous precedent, which will imperil the much-cherished independence of the judiciary as the bastion of the rule of law, he said.

 

Olanipekun argued further that the petition requesting transfer of the part-heard criminal case in which prosecution had already called 10 witnesses is legally misconceived having regard to provisions of Section 98(2) of the ACJA 2015 and the recent Court of Appeal decision in the case of F.R.N V. LAWAN (2018) LPELR-43973 (C-A).

 

Fayose is on trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million allegedly stolen from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) contrary to the Money Laundering Act. He had pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on an 11-count charge last October 22. The EFCC said Fayose and Biodun Agbele, who is facing a different charge, allegedly took possession of N1, 219,000, 000 on June 17, 2014, to fund the former governors 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

 

The commission said Fayose reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.  EFCC said Fayose, on the same day, received a cash payment of $5million from Obanikoro, without going through a financial institution, the sum having exceeded the amount authorised by law.

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Breaking News : Oil tanker explodes in Lagos .

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A tanker explosion has occurred at Toyota bus-stop inwards Mile 2, along Oshodi-Apapa expressway.

The tanker was fully loaded with fuel at the time it exploded.

Oil tanker explodes in Lagos (photos/video)

Fire service arrived at the scene to put out the fire.

The Federal Fire Service giving an update on Twitter moments later, the Federal Fire Service said, “Update: The tanker fire situation at Toyota Bus stop, along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, Lagos State has been brought under control.”

 

Oil tanker explodes in Lagos (photos/video)

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Lagos state government shuts down all schools over #EndSARS protests

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The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely.
This was announced in a press statement by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, on Monday.
The statement was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’.
It quoted the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”
The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
Adefisayo added that “the safety of the pupils/students, parents and all staff working in schools is paramount at this critical period”.
She however advised parents to “keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society”.
The Commissioner also encouraged schools to “utilize other means of distance teaching and learning i.e radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown”.

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Siberian Husky Awaits Trial For Allegedly Murdering Neighbor Cat

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A Siberian Husky in Denver was accused of killing a neighbor’s cat and now sits in an animal shelter awaiting a trial.

Zuma, the 12-year-old dog who lives with Kevin and Valerie Kickham, reportedly wandered over to a neighbor’s yard in Central Park early August and took the life of a seven-year-old Tabby cat, according to FOX 31 News.

“It was only this one moment in time that I lost track of Zuma and something did occur,” Kevin confessed to the outlet with Valerie by his side.

Denver Animal Protection eventually picked Zuma up and has held him in their shelter since the alleged incident.

While Kevin and Valerie “feel bad” about the loss of the cat, they are very concerned for Zuma, whom they have sheltered since he was eight weeks old and call “son.”

“He’s very much our child,” stated Valerie.

“I remember him taking part of his first Thanksgiving turkey,” Kevin recalled fondly. “We fed him turkey in the bowl and next thing you know he actually jumped up and grabbed a piece of turkey for himself.”

A spokesperson for the Denver Animal Protection told the outlet that a judge may exonerate Zuma. If found guilty, however, Zuma could be put to sleep or relocated “somewhere outside the city.”

“It’s not a scenario that’s ideal,” explained Kevin.

While they await the trial date set for mid-November, the Kickhams are allowed weekly visits to the shelter.

“Both of our last visits he wasn’t excited,” Kevin told the news source. “It’s been very hard.”

With the life expectancy of a Siberian Husky ranging from 12 to 15 years, the couple are fearful they may not have much more time together with Zuma.

“We know that it’s not going to be much longer,” Kevin added. “We’ve cherished every moment with him.”

The outlet said they have reached out to the family of the feline victim, but there has been no response.

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