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Nigeria: Obasanjo’s in-law granted bail over alleged $4m fraud

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Abebe

An Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos on Thursday granted John Abebe, the younger brother of the late Stella Obasanjo, spouse of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo bail over alleged four million dollars fraud.

Mr Abebe is facing a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the cause of justice slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).



He, however, denied the charges during his arraignment on July 26 and was remanded for a week at the Ikoyi Prisons by Justice Mojisola Dada.

At Thursday’s bail proceedings, Kanu Agabi, Mr Abebe’s lawyer, via a bail application dated July 25 and supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit, asked the court to grant Mr Abebe bail.

Mr Agabi said the judge should take cognizance of Mr Abebe’s high status in the society and that the defendant in a bid to absolve himself of the charges had hired the services of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

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“My Lord, the fact that the defendant has taken the trouble to hire the services of the calibre of counsel here shows that he is not interested in jumping bail.

“He is anxious because his reputation is at stake, the granting of bail is in your discretion and it is not at all a formality.

“Lastly, My Lord, there is a principle that applies during sentencing particularly when Your Lordship wants to apply a fine in terms of imprisonment.

“This applies to bail, the bail should be affordable, if not the bail would be an illusion. Merely looking at the defendant, you will see he is a man of rank and position.

“Our law permits bail to the defendant and that provision will be useless if he cannot avail himself of the bail,” Agabi said.

Responding, Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, in an application supported by an 8-paragraph affidavit, said Mr Abebe should face justice irrespective of his status.

He told the court : “Every citizen of Nigeria is being called before the law and before the law there is no high profile or low profile
person, justice is blind.

“If the court is minded to give bail, we want the bail to be such that it would compel his attendance in court as these are serious allegations against him.”

Granting Mr Abebe bail, Justice Dada noted that documents before her revealed that investigations had been concluded in the case, adding that the chances of interference in the proceedings from the defendant were low.

“In view of the facts before the court, I hereby grant the defendant bail upon the submission of his international passport to the court registrar with one substantial surety.

“The surety must own property in a choice area of Lagos and must provide proof of ownership,” she said.

Following the ruling, it was brought to the judge’s attention by the defence that Mr Abebe’s passport was still in the possession of
the EFCC.

Justice Dada said: “Since the passport of the defendant is with the EFCC, he is hereby granted bail on fulfillment of other conditions.”

According to Rotimi Oyedepo, the EFCC prosecutor present at Mr Abebe’s arraignment on July 26, the defendant committed the offence on June 22, 2010 in Lagos.

“Abebe knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Ltd’s letter dated Nov. 30, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Ltd.

“He committed the forgery by inserting in page two of the said letter the following words: Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4 million buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields.

“He purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited,” the EFCC prosecutor said.

The prosecution claimed that the defendant used the said forged letter as evidence in suit: FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Abebe,
Inducon Nigeria Ltd and Statoil Nigeria Ltd at the Federal High Court.

The evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the suit.

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-PremiumTimes

Crime

Durban Court Convicts Nine for public violence in South Africa.

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Following the chaotic scenes that occurred after the Nedbank Cup semi-final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in April, South African Police Services (SAPS) have confirmed that nine people have been convicted of public violence.



Kaizer Chiefs were knocked out of the competition after losing 2-0 to eventual champions Free State Stars, which prompted scores of angry fans to storm the pitch, causing damage worth R2.6 million.

The SAPS issued out a statement on Thursday, revealing that nine of the 11 suspects who appeared in the Durban Regional Court in connection with the incident were successfully convicted.

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The incident left 18 people injured, with six admitted to hospital, and the match result prompted Steve Komphela – who coached Kaizer Chiefs at the time – to resign from his post after a tumultuous tenure where the club failed to secure silverware in three years.

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The club was fined by the PSL, and was forced to stage two home matches at the venue – against Polokwane City and Chippa United -behind closed doors.

Should a similar incident occur in the next 24 months, Amakhosi will have to play another home fixture without any crowd support, according to PSL sanction.

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-TheSouthAfrican.

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Crime

Nigerian: Governor Ganduje wants $8.2m for damages over bribe videos.

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A Nigerian governor Abdullahi Ganduje has sued an online portal and its publisher over viral videos that shows him purportedly receiving dollar bribes from contractors in the state.

According to the portal in question, Governor of north-central Kano State, Ganduje through his lawyers filed the suit at a High Court.



The suit filed is among other, seeking the court to restrain the portal and its publisher, Jafar Jafar, from further publishing what he called “defamatory doctored video clips.”

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The governor also wants the court to order payment of 3 billion naira ($8.2m) as damages for defamation of character. He also wants the court to order reporters to publish a public apology and syndicate same through other online platforms with global accessibility.

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Ganduje, a former deputy governor of Kano was elected for the first of two-terms in 2015. He is currently contesting for a final term when elections are next held in early 2019.

He has appeared in several video clips circulated by the Daily Nigerian receiving bribe, allegedly amounting to about $5million from contractors in the state. The portal quotes contractors as saying Ganduje personally receives from 15 to 25 percent kickbacks for every project executed in the state.

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