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$9.6b judgment: CCB gets petition against ex-CJN Belgore

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Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has received a petition on former Chief of Justice of Nigeria Alfa Belgore. Belgore was accused of testifying against the country in favour of Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), which secured a $9.6b arbitral award against Nigeria.


The petition was filed by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), whose Chairman, Comrade Suraj Olanrewaju, was invited by the CCB to adopt the petition on oath.

The CCB demanded evidence of any alleged infraction that might have been committed by Justice Belgore from HEDA.

The group accused Belgore of alleged conflict of interest and violation of Section 5 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers of the 1999 Constitution.

It added: “Based on the foregoing, it is succinct to point out the basis for this petition. From the above relayed, there is a clear case of conflict of interest which is backed up constitutionally by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. Specifically, Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which states that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.

“Section 5 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers of the 1999 Constitution goes further and directly prohibits former presidents, vice presidents, Chief Justices of Nigeria, governors and Deputy Governors from working for foreign companies or enterprises. The former CJN falls under this category and also is still the chairman of the National Merit Honour Award Committee, which confers him with a sense of patriotism and loyalty to the country.

“It can be concluded, without equivocation, that drafters of the Constitution understand the weight of the offices occupied by the prohibited officers and the potential implication of actions such as that taken by the former CJN.

“The act he allegedly committed is grave and amounts to a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, thereby violating the provisions of the Constitution.

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Legal

$9.6bn Judgment Debt:Nigeria heads for UK Appeal Court

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The battle between Nigeria and Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) over the bid to stop the company from attaching the country’s assets to recoup the $9.6 billion arbitral claim it secured last month, is set to shift to the United Kingdom Appeal Court.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), Thursday signified the intention of the federal government to head to the UK Appeal Court shortly after the UK Commercial Court ordered a stay of execution of the $9.6 billion claim, arising from a failed gas deal between the two parties which led to arbitration.

Mr. Justice Butcher had last month affirmed the arbitral claim but fixed yesterday for hearing of an application by P&ID seeking the leave of the court to attach some assets of Nigeria for a seizure to recoup the $9.6 billion arbitral claim.

It was, however, learnt that the claim would have hit a double-digit mark as interest on the original $6.5 billion the arbitration panel granted P&ID, which ballooned to $9.6 billion in August when the UK court affirmed the arbitral award, is being calculated at the rate of $1.2 million daily, minus weekends.

In its ruling yesterday, the court, which, however, upheld the claim and refused Nigeria’s plea to set it aside, said the suspension of its decision to grant P&ID’s request to seize Nigerian assets would last till the determination of the appeal by the federal government.

It, however, asked the government to make a security payment of $200million to the court within 60 days.

But Malami said besides seeking to quash the company’s bid to make any claim, Nigeria would also consider the possibility of challenging the legality of the $200 million security deposit within the 60-day window.

P&ID secured the damages against Nigeria following a failed Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA) contract between it and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Malami, in a brief from London, sent to reporters in Abuja, said: “Leave to appeal has been granted. Stay of execution is also granted subject to payment of $200m security payment to court pending the determination of the appeal the leave for which has been granted by the commercial court.

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EFCC

Oyo-Ita in fresh trouble

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Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered the permanent forfeiture of some assets said to have been returned by a suspect allegedly linked to the suspended Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The order was a sequel to an application for permanent forfeiture by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) M. S. Abubakar.
Oyo-Ita is currently under indefinite suspension pending the outcome of the investigation of allegations against her

At Thursday’s proceedings, Abubakar informed the court that between the last adjournment on June 28, 2019, when the court granted an ex parte application for the interim forfeiture of the assets and till date, no party had come forward to lay claim to the funds.

He added that the unnamed suspect who was served with the order of interim forfeiture did not respond.

According to Abubakar, the funds were voluntarily returned to the commission as proceeds of crime.

Following the failure of any claimant to the funds, the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, therefore, prayed the court to make the order permanent, adding that the money had been paid into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria immediately it was returned by the suspect.

In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa subsequently granted the request of the Commission and ordered for the permanent forfeiture of the said assets.

It should be noted that details of the case were not read out in the open court when the judge made the order of final forfeiture of the monetary assets to the Federal Government.

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Legal

Court orders Sowore’s immediate release

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Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the immediate release of the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, who has been in custody of the federal government since August 3, 2019. Justice Taiwo said the release was contingent on the grounds that the order of detention made on August 8 has elapsed.


The judge had on August 8 while delivering a ruling in an exparte application brought by the federal government ordered the detention of Sowore for a period of 45 days to enable officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) conclude investigation of alleged treasonable felony and other charges against Sowore.

The court however ordered that Sowore would not be kept longer than the 45 days granted by it without a fresh application for his further detention.

The 45 days elapsed on September 21.

When the matter came up Monday, the court held that following the expiration of the detention order for 45 days and the absence of any application for Sowore’s further detention, the court is inclined to order for his release.

The prosecution had applied for the extension of the order for 20 days, however, the prosecution counsel, Godwin Agbadua, announced the withdrawal of the application of the motion, adding that the defendant had already been charged with treasonable felony, money laundering as well as insulting the president.

Justice Taiwo, in a short ruling, held that there is no application before him for extension of the detention order and there is evidence that the prosecution has concluded its investigation of the defendant, accordingly ordered for the immediate release of Sowore.

He, however, ordered that Sowore submits his international passport with the court.

Sowore was arrested in the early hours of Saturday, August 3, in a hotel in Lagos by men of the DSS on account of the #RevolutionNow protest which he had spearheaded.

He was then moved to Abuja the following day and kept in custody of the DSS where he has been till date following order of the court.

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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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