A former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, yesterday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja, to strike out the alleged N40 billion money laundering charge filed against him and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Nyako, in a no-case submission motion filed by his team of lawyers led by Kanu Agabi, on behalf of 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants, told Justice Okon Abang that “no case has been made out by the prosecution warranting an answer from them.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Nyako; his son, Abdulaziz Nyako; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd who are 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants respectively in the trial.
Others are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd are 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th defendants respectively.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-counts bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako was Adamawa governor.
Our source also reports that the anti-graft agency had called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.
Reacting, the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants argued that from the testimonies of the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution, there was not a single shred of evidence that suggested even remotely that a case had been made out against them.
“Apart from the fact that the charges are in themselves incompetent and irredeemably bad thereby rendering the entire trial a nullity,” they said.
According to them, the prosecution made allegations against persons and companies who were not charged.
“The allegations made against these companies and individuals constitute elements of the offences charged.
“In order to succeed in all the counts, these elements must be proved. These elements cannot be proven behind the back of the companies and individuals against whom the allegations were made, having not been charged.
“Even if these companies and individuals were called as witnesses, that would not have been sufficient but none of them except Mary P was called.
“The failure to charge these companies and individuals against whom allegations were made in these counts constitute a failure of the prosecution to prove essential elements of the counts.
“Accordingly, the charges laid out in Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 fail on that account,” the defendants added.
They argued that the essential elements of the offences charged had either been omitted or not proved.
“Under Sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the failure to prove an essential element of the offence charged is a ground for upholding a submission that the prosecution has not made out a case warranting an answer from the defendants,” they held.
However, at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the EFCC Lawyer, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, told Justice Abang that the commission intended to comprehensively respond to the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants’ no-case submission.
He prayed the court to give him seven days within which to file his responses.
Abang, who gave the prosecution seven days to file and serve their written address in opposite to the defendants’ no-case submission, said the defendants would be at liberty to file and serve their reply on point of law within seven days.
He adjourned the matter until March 25 for parties to adopt their written addresses for and in opposition to the defendants’ no-case submission.
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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