Tuesday, January 5, 2016 8:55 pm
By Henry Ojelu
As Lagos State Courts officially resume sitting after the festive break, Henry Ojelu looks at some of the cases that will make headlines this year.
EFCC Vs Fred Ajudua
Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, Fred Ajudua has managed to evade justice despite several allegations of fraud against him. Since 2007, Ajudua, popularly known as ‘Onwa’ translated as sun among his admirers has been in and out of court for numerous fraud allegations. For want of credible evidence against him, the Lagos court has freed him from two of the three serious fraud cases levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The last one borders on the allegation that he defrauded former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (Rtd) of over $8.4million while they were in Kirikiri Prisons. The matter has however been halted as Ajudua had petitioned the Lagos Chief Judge over allegation of bias by the trial Judge, Justice Kudirat Jose.
His co-accused, a court registrar, Ms Oluronke Rosulu, who opted for separate trial was late last years sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
With Ms Rosulu’s conviction, Ajudua’ trial may likely resume this years.
LASG Vs SCOAN Trustees:
The trial of Trustees of Synagogue Church of All Nation, SCOAN and two engineers that built the church’s collapsed guest house continues this year as the Lagos State Government remains resolute in prosecuting the matter.
Late last years, Lagos State Government officially arraigned, SCOAN Trustees, Engineer Akinbela Fatiregun of Hardrock Construction and Oladele Ogundeji for criminal negligence. Despite a Federal High Court order that the trial should be discontinue since the defendants had filed an appeal, the court is carrying on with the trial. The unfolding drama which the trail would provoke will surely make news headlines this year.
Tinubu Vs AIT
The legal battle between All Progressives Congress, APC National Leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and embattled Chairman Emeritus, Daar Communication Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi is still very much on at the Lagos Court. Though events appear to have overtaken the suit, Tinubu is still pursuing the suit in which he alleged that Dokpesi through a documentary titled ‘Lion of Burdillion’ broadcast in his television station, AIT, damaged his reputation.
The matter which is before Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe is still at the preliminary stage as it has been referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR.
Lai Mohammed Vs Olisa Metuh
Popularly known as the battle of the two spokesmen, Lai Mohammed’s libel suit against Olisa Metuh will surely make headlines this year.
Mohammed is demanding N500 million damages from Metuh for issuing what he said was a ‘malicious’ press statement that tarnished his reputation.
In the statement, Metuh allegedly described Mohammed as “being ethically challenged” and “embezzling funds meant for fencing of an airport in an APC-led Southwest state”.
Metuh is yet to file his respond to the suit as at the last adjourned date.
Kunle Fadipe’s Killers Trial:
More revelation will continue to pure out this year in the trial os suspected killers of renown lawyer and human rights activist, Kunle Fadipe.
The matter is likely to be concluded this year as the trial judge, Justice Atinuke Ipaye is giving the matter accelerated hearing. More than five prosecution witnesses include the late Fadipe’s wife, Kemi have testified in the matter.
All five witnesses have narrated how the suspected killer stabbed the late Fadipe, his mother, son and her sister.
Oil Subsidy trials:
Several Oil subsidy fraud trials pending before the Lagos High Courts may likely be concluded this year. Some of the pending cases are:
FG Vs Walter Wagbatsoma & Others:
Businessman Walter Wagbatsoma is standing trial along with Adaoha Ugo-Ndagi, Babafemi Fakuade over allegations of N414million subsidy fraud. Wagbasoma and his co-defendants along with their firm, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, are facing a nine-count charge bordering on fraudulent fuel subsidy claims.
EFCC alleged that the suspects altered and forged documents to receive payment in excess of N414 million in the Federal Government fuel subsidy scheme. The matter is at the concluding stage as the EFCC and two of the three defendants has since concluded their cases.
FG Vs Mamman Ali & Ors
Mamman, son of former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Ahmadu Ali is standing trial along with Christian Taylor and Nasaman Oil Services Ltd over alleged complicity in N4.5 billion fuel subsidy fraud.
The matter is before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja. The defendants were initially arraigned on July 26, 2012 but later re-arraigned last year when their co-defendant, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, absconded.
In the amended charge, the counts of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of false documents were increased from nine to 49.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh said the defendants had fraudulently obtained N4.5 billion from the Federal Government between January 2011 and April 2012.
FG Vs Tukur and others:
Mahmud Tukur and his company, Eterna Plc, Alex Ochonogor and Abdullahi Alao are standing trial before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo over alleged N1.8bn oil subsidy fraud.
The EFCC alleged that they obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
The defendants had initially filed a preliminary objection against the trial but was overruled by the court. They EFCC has since called several witnesses the proved the allegations against the defendants.
FG Vs Ajuwah and others:
Opeyemi Ajuwah along her company, Majope Investment Limited, Abdullahi Alao, son of the late Ibadan businessman, Arisekola Alao, Axenergy Limited and Olanrewaju Olalusi are standing trial before the court for alleged N1.2bilion subsidy fraud. The trial would most likely be concluded this year as parties in the matter have almost concluded their case.