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CCT orders Onnoghen to appear on Feb 13

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The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) yesterday adjourned till February 13, the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, insisting that the embattled CJN must appear for trial on the new date.

This is coming as the Senate yesterday ordered the discontinuation of its case before the Supreme Court, seeking the judicial interpretation of the suspension of the CJN by President Muhammadu Buhari, predicating its action on the intervention by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The adjournment of CCT was a sequel to an oral application by counsel to the embattled CJN, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).

Onnoghen is yet to be arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on non-disclosure of his assets preferred against him by the federal government.

The tribunal had last Friday fixed yesterday, February 4, for the arraignment of the chief justice as well as the hearing of all pending applications, shortly after the Court of Appeal in Abuja, dismissed Onnoghen’s motion on notice, seeking a temporary stoppage of his trial at the tribunal, pending the determination of his suit challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

When the matter was called yesterday, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), informed the court that the matter was adjourned till yesterday for arraignment and hearing of two motions, one on preliminary objection to jurisdiction of the CCT and another one filed by the prosecution, asking for an order for the CJN to step aside.

However, defence team, led by Awomolo, drew the tribunal’s attention to the fact that the same petition forwarded to the Code of Conduct Bureau by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has been forwarded to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Awomolo said since the NJC has sent the same petitions to the defendant to reply within seven days, which will lapse on Wednesday (tomorrow), February 6, it is in the interest of justice to allow NJC take a decision before continuing with the proceedings at the tribunal.

Prosecution counsel, however, said he was not opposed to the application for adjournment.

In a short ruling, tribunal Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter till February 13 for the arraignment of Onnoghen and the hearing of all pending applications.

He, however, urged the defence team to ensure that the defendant physically appear in court at the next adjourned date, adding that “plea must be taken before the defendant can raise any objection regarding the case.”

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Politics

Presidential Election Tribunal Adjourns Till August 21

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The presidential election tribunal has said that it will deliver judgement in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Septemeber 11, 2019.

President Muhammudu Buhari and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

All the parties in the suit had made their final submissions on August 21, when the tribunal declared that the date for the judgement will be communicated at a later date.

Read Also: Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Jewellery Worth $40m

The PDP and its candidate are seeking to nullify the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 poll.

They insist that the election was marred by irregularities and are asking the tribunal to declared Atiku as the duly elected president.

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Legal

Buhari, Atiku to know fate on Sept 13

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has slated September 13, 2019, to deliver judgment in the petition brought against President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the election, Atiku Abubakar.

President Muhammudu Buhari and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

The Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, had spent the last few months listening to the arguments of all parties in the election, ending with the adoption of final addresses.

The seven-member panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Muhammed Garba, had last week reserved date to deliver judgment in the petition after the adoption of final written addresses.

The Electoral Act provides that an election petition should be filed, heard and determined within 180 days.

Buhari, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission are the respondents.

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EFCC

FBI Indictment: EFCC Arrests 28, Recovers N468m

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The joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on internet fraud has led to the arrest of 28 suspected internet fraudsters and the recovery of N486 million.

The EFCC said yesterday that 80 cases were under investigation in the joint operation, which started in 2018.
The acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said collaboration between the commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the recovery of the sums of $314,000 and N373,000,000.00, respectively from perpetrators of computer-related fraud.
Magu said the money was traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos Zonal office of the commission.
He also disclosed that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.

The EFCC chairman further stated that “nine of the suspects are currently undergoing trial, while five are still under investigations. Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”

Speaking through the Lagos Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, Magu added that the Lagos zone of the commission, prior to the collaborative efforts with the FBI, had independently launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds.

“From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions, and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts”, he said, while noting that the “efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.”

Magu also called on the media to continue to lend its voice to the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes, saying that “no one has the monopoly of knowledge of how the fight should be fought and won”.

“All the critical stakeholders, particularly the media, must continue to collaborate and cooperate with us to make the fight a success.
“I urge you to continue to help us sensitize, mobilize and educate all the critical stakeholders to continue to support the fight against economic and financial crimes. We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream”, he said.

Magu said: “It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youth that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.”
He also reiterated that the commission would leave no stone unturned towards stamping out corruption and economic and financial crimes from our society.

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EFCC

Internet Scam: FBI clamps down on over 70 Nigerians in Cyber Fraud saga

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Just after Nigerians woke up to the news that America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Invictus Group’s Obinwanne Okeke over alleged fraud, more bad news followed earlier today as the names of 80 more Nigerians were released by the anti-crime agency. The suspects have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, aggravated identity theft, and other serious financial crimes perpetrated through Business Email Compromise scams.


The FBI is reportedly working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to nab the now-at-large suspects. A 252-count federal grand jury indictment was unsealed charging 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerian nationals, with participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder the funds through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network.
The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement authorities arrested 14 defendants across the United States, with 11 of those arrests taking place in the Los Angeles region. Two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier this week. The remaining defendants are believed to be abroad, with most them located in Nigeria.
The indictment alleges that the 80 defendants and others used various online fraud schemes – including business email compromise (BEC) frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly – to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
According to a criminal complaint , co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries contacted the lead defendants in the indictment – Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, both Nigerian citizens – for bank and money-service accounts that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims. Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the 145-page indictment.
The indictment and criminal complaint allege that Iro and Igbokwe, who were among those arrested this morning, were involved in schemes resulting in the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently-obtained funds – and the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million.

“This case is part of our ongoing efforts to protect Americans from fraudulent online schemes and to bring to justice those who prey upon American citizens and businesses,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use BEC schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators – no matter where they reside – and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”
“Today’s announcement highlights the extensive efforts that organized criminal groups will engage in to perpetrate BEC schemes that target American citizens and their hard-earned assets,” said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Billions of dollars are lost annually, and we urge citizens to be aware of these sophisticated financial schemes to protect themselves or their businesses from becoming unsuspecting victims. The FBI is committed to working with our partner agencies worldwide to continue to identify these cybercriminals and to dismantle their networks.”

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