EFCC Can Prosecute Fayose as Sitting Governor – Falana
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, on Wednesday waded into the diverse legal opinions pervading the political space; which faulted the freezing of the bank accounts of the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose. Falana said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could investigate and prosecute the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose even as a sitting governor.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) cited diverse judicial precedents and legal instruments, which he said justified the decision of the anti-graft commission to investigate and freeze Fayose’s Zenith Bank Plc personal/private bank accounts. Falana faulted Fayose’s reliance on section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to escape criminal investigation in a statement he issued yesterday, noting that immunity clause did not come to play in criminal investigation of a sitting governor or a sitting president.
He explained Fayose’s diverse criminal antecedents ranging from the looting of N1.2 billion from the state’s treasury in 2004 to alleged involvement in the murder of Tunde Omojola and the 2014 Ekiti governorship election rigging. He explained that in view of the fact that the effect of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution “has been watered down, Fayose cannot invoke the immunity clause to shield himself from investigation.”
Since the offences of fraud, treason and criminal diversion of public funds were allegedly committed in connection with the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State, the senior advocate argued that Fayose, who was a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the material time “is liable to be investigated.
PDP crisis: Sheriff inaugurates another panel for Edo primary
The crisis in the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepened on Thursday in Abuja with the inauguration of five committees for the conduct of another and parallel primary for the 2016 Edo State governorship election by sacked PDP chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff.
This is coming barely four days after a similar and parallel primary by the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the party’s flag bearer for the same election. Sheriff who inaugurated the committees, cited Section 50(1) of the PDP constitution which he noted was derived from the provisions of relevant sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, as basis for his action.
The Sheriff faction of the PDP inaugurated committees as follows: Screening, Appeal, Ad-Hoc delegate, Ad-Hoc delegate appeal and the main Gubernatorial Primary. Sheriff explained that the primary will hold on Wednesday June 29, 2016 in Benin City, the Edo State capital. He accused the Makarfi-led committee of importing “Fulani herdsmen” to occupy the party’s National Secretariat, Wadata House, in Abuja
Saraki & Ekweremadu: Offer your explanation to court – AGF
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has responded to claim by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and others that the charge of forgery against them amounted to an abuse of the principle of separation of powers.
The AGF, who justified his decision to initiate criminal proceedings against Saraki and three others over the allegation that they were involved in the forgery of the Senate Order 2011, urged the defendants to take their argument before the court.
Malami (photo: above), in a statement issued late Thursday by his media aide, Salihu Isah, said he was withing his constitutional powers to initiate criminal proceedings against anybody where any of the investigating agencies has established a prima facie case against such suspect.
The AGF, who faulted the arguments by Saraki and others named in the charge before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), urged them to go before the court and explain their roles in the forgery case rather than accusing him of violating the Legislative arm.
Silverbird Galleria Abuja reopens
Normal activities resumed at the Silverbird Galleria, Abuja on Thursday afternoon , hours after the premises was sealed off by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). But the Silverbird workers were locked out as the company’s building remained under lock and keys.
The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had earlier in the day, announced a takeover of three of SilverBird Group businesses: Silverbird Galleria Limited, Silverbird Promotions Limited, and Silverbird Showtime Limited. All the companies are co-owned by Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce (photo:above) and his brothers, Guy Murray-Bruce, Michael Murray-Bruce, as well as his son, Jonathan Murray-Bruce.
The latest move by AMCON came two months after the agency, established in 2010 to manage delinquent loans of big firms and individuals, appointed Muiz Banire as the Receiver/Manager of the companies, following an alleged failure to meet up loan obligations with Union Bank of Nigeria.
AMCON shuts down Ben Bruce’s Silverbird Group over unpaid debts
The Nigerian media company, entertainment and real estate local conglomerate, the Silverbird Group, has been shut down, its founder and owner confirmed on Thursday, amid reports it defaulted on $38 million in debts. Silverbird Television and its sister radio station Rhythm 93.7 FM have been off air since early Thursday while its cinema galleries and shopping malls it operated in Lagos and Abuja were also closed.
The action was reportedly taken by the state-run Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which deals in the recovery of bad debts. AMCON were not immediately available for comment when contacted by AFP but the Premium Times news website said possession of the group’s properties were taken following a court order. Group companies defaulted on repayment of debts of 11 billion naira ($38 million, 34 million euros), the publication added.
Bola Salako, of the Silverbird Communications division, told AFP: “We have some issues which we are addressing. I can assure you that we will soon be back on air.” Group founder and chairman Ben Murray-Bruce then wrote on his Facebook page and Twitter account: “I have been on an international flight and have only just landed. “The situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal,” he added, saying that all companies face challenges. “Tough times don’t last. But we, as tough people, outlast them,” he wrote.
AMCON Seized Silverbird Abuja
The premises of Silverbird communications have been taken over by Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON} over N10 billion Naira Debt in Abuja yesterday. Following the take-over of Silverbird Galleria by AMCON, the Chairman of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray Bruce assured that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible.
The Common Sense Advocate confirmed this in twitter handle, @MurrayBenBruce that he just flew into the country and the issue will be addressed soon. According to the tweet, “ I have been on an international flight and have only just landed. The situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal,” Bruce disclosed. AMCON had taken over three of the politician’s assets – Silverbird Productions Limited, Silverbird Showtime Limited and Silverbird Galleria Limited – due to failure to settle an N11 billion loan.
The properties include those at 133, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, Plot No 1161 (Silverbird Galleria), the plaza at Central Area Cadastral Zone, Abuja, and the magnificent structure located at Abonnema Wharf Road and Abali Park in Port Harcourt. Ben Murray-Bruce, his brothers, Guy Murray-Bruce, Michael Murray-Bruce, Roy Murray-Bruce and his son Jonathan Murray-Bruce are listed as defendants in a suit over the loan default. Sen. Ben Murray Bruce and his brothers, using their companies, had between 2005 and 2007 borrowed various sums of money from Union Bank.
Buhari orders transfer of policemen from Niger Delta
There were indications in Abuja, yesterday, that the Federal Government may have given the go-ahead to the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to clean up the top hierarchy of the Police Force. Sources disclosed that over 20 senior officers may be involved in the forthcoming gale of retirements in this regard.
The looming retirements of some senior officers and clean-up of the Nigerian police force respectively are coming just as it also emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a massive redeployment of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force in Niger Delta, following what was described as their inability to checkmate or contain the destructive and bombing activities of Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups on oil and gas platforms critical to the nation’s revenue base.
Saraki & Ekweremadu forgery case: AGF Malami shuns Senate summons
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, on Thursday, refused to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
The senate at plenary on Tuesday, after a two-hour closed session, summoned Malami (photo: above), over the planned prosecution of Saraki and Ekweremadu, for allegedly forging the Senate Standing Order 2015.
The senate took the decision following a motion moved by the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, who relied on order 14 and 52, to demand the approval of his colleagues for his two prayers including the invitation of the AGF and the genuineness of the rule book.