Supreme Court Clears Way For Trial Of Ex-Kogi Governor Abubakar Audu Over N4Billion Fraud

Former Governor of Kogi State Abubakar Audu
By Wilson Uwujaren- Ag. Head, Media & Publicity

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on November 23, 2012, recorded a major victory in the trial of former Kogi State governor, Abubakar Audu, when the Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, dismissed the ex-governor’s appeal, thereby clearing the way for his fresh arraignment.

 
Audu was originally arraigned on December 1, 2006, on an 80 criminal count charge of fraud and embezzlement of public fund, to the tune of over N4 billion, while he was governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003.
 
The Commission had cause the issuance of nolle prosequi by the former Attorney General of Kogi state, Dr. John Alewo Agbonika and the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo on February 8, 2007 for the case to be discontinued at the Kogi State High Court as the Commission claimed to have lost faith in the handling of the matter by the State High Court.
 
“In my capacity as the AG of Kogi state in collaboration with the AG of the Federation and by virtue of the power vested in me by Section 211 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Section 253 of the CPC and all the powers enabling me in that behalf, I Dr. John Alewo Agbonika hereby inform this Hon. Court that I no longer intend to continue the prosecution of this case in collaboration with the AG of the Federation to whom I had given a fiat to prosecute this case”, Agbonika, the former Kogi State Attorney General said.
 
But rather than discontinue the matter in the spirit of the nolle prosequi, the trial judge, Justice Medupin, went ahead as he further referred two questions to the Court of Appeal for determination.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal was wrong to consider the questions referred to it for determination after being aware from the records of Appeal that a nolle prosequi had been filed.
 
“This is so because there is/was nothing before the trial court, so there would be nothing for the Court of appeal to send back. It amounted to an academic exercise for the Court of appeal to waste judicial time considering questions from a case that is no longer in existence. There was no longer live issue to be considered by the Court of appeal in view of nolle prosequi filed in the trial court”, the Supreme Court ruled.   
 
Part of the setback suffered by the case was the filling of several applications for stay of proceedings at the high court pending the final determination of the appeal. Audu had on December 12, 2011, through his lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, filed the stay of proceedings motion supported by 11-paragraph Affidavit. This was 26 clear days after the Supreme Court of Nigeria on November 16, 2011, struck out a similar application he filed on January 24, 2011.
 
It would be recalled that Justice Husseini, in his ruling of June 10, 2011, held that since the matter was starting de novo, since he was newly transferred to the court, “the starting point was the re-arraignment of the accused (ex- governor Abubakar Audu) by taking his plea afresh”, the judge said.
 
This development also led the accused to proceed on appeal and filed motion for a stay of proceedings. A third stay of proceedings which motion, the accused filed, is in relation to his appeal before the Court of Appeal. “The case at the Court of Appeal is attacking the jurisdiction of the court to re-arraign the accused person; that motion is pending. The appellate courts are obliged to take these cases separately and determine its merit and demerit, no matter how frivolous it is. Like Pontius Pilate, wash your hands off until the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court concludes this case”, Ozekhome told the court.
 
Five justices, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, sat in chambers and came up with their ruling, a copy of which was presented before Justice Saidu Tanko Husseini of High Court of Kogi State on December 9, 2011 when the case came up. But Ozekhome, SAN, had argued against the presentation of the ruling by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, as he said that in his about 30 years experience at the bar, he was unaware of such a legal jargon as “sitting in chambers”.
 
He described the Supreme Court’s ruling as a possible forgery which he must verify. The judge obliged his prayers and adjourned till December 22, 2011. But three days after, (December 12, 2011), he filed another stay of proceedings at the High Court.
 
Count one of the 80 count charges reads “that you, Prince Abubakar Audu on or about 6th day of Feb 2001 at Kogi State Judicial Div. by false pretence and with intent to fraud obtained from Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development, the sum of N6, 263.000 purporting same to be part payment made to Leo Flinch Nig. Ltd in respect of a contract allegedly awarded by Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development to the said Leo Flinch Nig. Ltd and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee fraud and other related offences Act 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No 62 of 1999”.
Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
23rd November, 2012

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PROSECUTION OF RAJ GUPTA, ALOK GUPTA, AKINFEMI ONADELE OF ISPAT

EFCC, please prosecute Raj Gupta, Alok Gupta and Akinfemi Onadele of Ispat Steel Nig Ltd, "found to have a case to answer" in EFCC report (CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/CT&GI/TA/VOL.5/607 dated 20/10/2010) in a case of criminal conversion of property and impersonation. They used land docs of their Plot C8 to obtain Governor's Consent to Assignment, registration and illegal occupation of Plot C9 Amuwo Odofin Commercial Scheme, property of my company, SamGrace & Co Ltd. In public depositions they claim they are the "bonafide purchaser of Plot C9" for which they obtained Governor's Consent to Assignment, which they registered as "20/20/2066". CTC of that land title shows it belongs to Plot C8 they claim they "purchased from Lawson Thomas & Colleagues". Lagos Land Registry has canceled the "fraudulently registered Memorandum of Loss" they used for the deal. Akinfemi Onadele impersonated my lawyer!

The fraud is criminal offence NOT "civil" as "discovered" and stated by the EFCC in letter of 29/6/12.

Indeed,for proper

Indeed,for proper dispensation of Justice, AGF and relevant security agencies should leave no stone unturned in order to bring this crooks and corrupt individuals to justice.Enough is enough for this culture of impunity and financial recklessness in Kogi East.

First,Audu must be brought to

First,Audu must be brought to face justice and thereafter you can name PDP corrupt people you know. Or do you seems to suggest that Audu should not be tried because he is not the only corrupt person in Nigeria?

ALL NON MEMBERS OF PDP ARE LIABLE FOR PROSCUTION

EFCC FEAR ALMIGHTY ALLAH. WHY DO YOU WORRY ONLY THOSE THAT ARE NOT MEMBERS OF PDP? AS YOU ARE PUTTING PRESSURE ON ABUBAKAR AUDU AT THE SAME TIME YOU ARE DOING THE SAME ON HASSAN LAWAL FORMER MINISTER OF WORKS. MAJORITY OF THOSE INVOLVED IN FRAUD AND HIGH PROFILE CORRUPTION ARE MEMBERS OF PDP WHO ARE IMMUNE TO PROSCUTION. ONCE AGAIN EFCC FEAR ALMIGHTY ALLAH.

Coments on Audu's trial

Ibro should be tried as well because he is the worst Governor Kogi ever produced, now his brother in law is there to covrered his track. They should all be brought to justice including Wada as soon as he steps out of office.

Abubakar Audu's Case

EFCC should go and sit down. Place side by side former governor Audu and Ibrahim idris and tell us who should be prosecuted. The landmark achievement of Audu and Ibro considering the amount allocated to the state during their tenure comfirms Ibro as the bigger thief except if EFCC wants to show some more that they are PDP machenary for mere witchhunting of non PDP politicians

Nigerian Judiciary must be a laughing stock of the world!

Imagine:
" He described the Supreme Court’s ruling as a possible forgery which he must verify. The judge obliged his prayers and adjourned till December 22, 2011. But three days after, (December 12, 2011), he filed another stay of proceedings at the High Court.

Supreme court ruling as FORGERY!????

Who is this lawyer Ozekhome, SAN?

Is the supreme court ruling status now determined?

This is another Judiciary CIRCUS for those who have time for these EFCC clowns. Tell us somnething new EFCC. THIS SCRIPT IS WORN OUT.

Nigerian Judiciary must be a laughing stock of the world!

Seize his loot

As Lamorde opined yesterday, the best thing is to confiscate any thing, bank account or property bearing any semblance of his name on it to stiffle him of funds from which to pay star lawyers like Ozhekhome.

After this what of the Turakis, Nnamanis', Kalu's, Ohakim's, Bankoles?

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