House Boy Who Cloned Master’s ATM Card, Remanded in Prison

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A Lagos, Nigeria Magistrate Court  sitting at Tinubu, Lagos Island, was on Wednesday told how an house  boy cloned his employer’s  Automated Teller  Machine(ATM) Card and used it to purchase good worth thousands of Naira.

According to the  Police prosecutor, Inspector Richard Odigie, the 23 year old  accused cloned Mr. Godwin Okoh’s credit card on November 16 and used it to buy goods worth N 328,000.

Odigie further  said that the accused used the cloned  credit card to pay for products from an online trading establishment, among which were a home theatre, laptop and cellphone .

The prosecutor told the court that the offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, adding, “Okoh received alert of withdrawal of N187,500, N68,000 and N73,000 respectively on Nov. 16 and 17, and then went to his bank to report the withdrawals. The theft was traced to the accused”.

The accused pleaded not guilty, when his plea was taken, after which the Magistrate, Mrs F.O. Ikobayo, ordered his remand in prison custody, until ruling is  delivered on his bail application.

The case was  adjourned to November 30.

 

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More than 20 months after Ferguson, Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are still facing charges in St. Louis County

By Jonathan Peters, CJR

The 2014 arrests of journalists Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery for, well, doing journalism at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, Missouri, were misguided. The filing of charges by St. Louis County against them nearly a year later, just days before the statute of limitations tolled, was absurd.

Over the past eight months, the charges—one count each of trespassing and interfering with a police officer against Reilly, of The Huffington Post, and Lowery, of The Washington Post, which this week won a Pulitzer Prize for a project on fatal police shootings that grew in part out of events in Ferguson—have been the subject of numerous legal proceedings in Missouri courts. And somewhere along the way, the case has become not just disappointing but dumbfounding, a remarkable low point for government harassment of the press.

The basic story is by now pretty familiar, but here is how The Washington Post editorial board summarized the events surrounding the arrests:

Journalists had been using a Ferguson McDonald’s as a staging ground to cover unrest after the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police Officer Darren Wilson. Asked by officers to leave the restaurant, Mr. Lowery and Mr. Reilly apparently didn’t leave quickly enough for the police. Mr. Lowery, for one, started recording a video on his phone while he packed up, which obviously riled an officer who improperly ordered him to stop recording. On the video, the officer walks toward the exit with Mr. Lowery while the Post reporter asks legitimate questions and tries to record the interactions other officers are having with Mr. Reilly, who is not quite done packing up.

Next, there is confusion about which door Mr. Lowery is supposed to use to exit, during which he asks if he can just adjust his backpack, which, Mr. Lowery later explained, was slipping off his shoulder. At that point one of the officers says, “Let’s take him.” According to an account Mr. Lowery wrote after his arrest, the officers slammed him into a soda machine, handcuffed him and led him and Mr. Reilly to a police van. The officers refused to tell Mr. Lowery or Mr. Reilly their names.

When the charges were filed last August, I argued that the arrests “seem to have been deliberate and unjustifiable attempts to interfere with the press, and [that] the charges, perversely, memorialize and magnify that interference.” I was hardly alone. Prosecutors should not have brought the charges.

But they did, and the last eight months have seen extensive litigation between St. Louis County and the journalists.

In October, Reilly and Lowery filed motions to dismiss the charges for lack of jurisdiction in the St. Louis County Municipal Court, arguing that their arrests were based on alleged conduct that occurred in an incorporated area of the county and that the charges arose under ordinances that apply only in unincorporated areas.

In response, the county conceded that it lacked the authority to charge Reilly and Lowery for alleged violations in the City of Ferguson. But the county went on to say that its lack of authority was “irrelevant,” because the county has “emergency powers” allowing it to charge people even when the municipal court lacks jurisdiction. In January, the presiding judge, Craig Concannon, denied the journalists’ motions in a one-paragraph order, writing that they were denied “for the reasons outlined in” the county’s brief.

Concannon, who happens to be a campaign donor to the county executive, did something else worth mentioning, too: He refused to allow Reilly and Lowery to depose the officers who arrested them. The journalists had asked to depose six officers listed as government witnesses, and the county had agreed to four.

The judge, however, ruled that because the matter was in municipal rather than state court, depositions were at his discretion—and he denied the journalists’ requests. That’s unusual for two reasons. First, in Missouri, criminal defendants are generally allowed, as a practical matter, to depose government witnesses regardless of court type. Second, judges don’t normally give less than the government offers.

At any rate, a few weeks ago Reilly and Lowery filed separate writs in the St. Louis County Circuit Court to challenge Concannon’s rulings, arguing that he abused his discretion by allowing the prosecutions to proceed. They also argue that the county’s invocation of “emergency powers” is not effective because neither the county nor the city had declared a state of emergency at the time Reilly and Lowery were arrested. If the writs are granted, Concannon would be required to dismiss the charges.

Gabriel Gore, of the St. Louis firm Dowd Bennett and a member of the Ferguson Commission, which ended in December, represents Reilly and Lowery. “We think the law is clear,” he said, “and we hope that the court will agree.” When I asked whether he was surprised that the cases are still ongoing, Gore said in jest, “I’m always surprised when a court disagrees with my clients’ position when my clients have the law on their side.”

Gore demurred when asked whether Reilly and Lowery planned to file an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which allows individuals to sue government officials for depriving them of constitutional or civil rights. He said that until such a claim were filed, it would be a matter of attorney-client privilege—and that currently there’s no such claim pending. (Last year, the county settled a § 1983 suit brought by a journalist in connection with his arrest in a separate incident.)

St. Louis County Counselor Peter Krane, who has previously defended the decision to bring charges, did not respond to a request for comment.

So what happens next? The county has roughly three weeks left to reply to the writs. A ruling will follow. And then, perhaps, we’ll know whether St. Louis County can retreat from this low point—or whether local officials will continue to sink into the mud.

Source : CJR Editors

South Africa court orders Zuma to repay house costs

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South African President Jacob Zuma failed to “uphold, defend and respect” the constitution when he ignored the order of an anti-corruption watchdog to repay some of the $16m spent to upgrade his private home, the Constitutional Court has ruled.

After delivering a stinging rebuke to the scandal-plagued leader on Thursday, the court gave Zuma 105 days to repay the “reasonable cost” of non-security-related upgrades to his sprawling rural residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.

The unanimous ruling by the 11-judge court is the latest twist in a six-year saga over Nkandla that now adds financial damage to the political wounds it has already inflicted on Zuma.

South African President Jacob Zuma violated constitution

After the ruling, the top six leaders of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress said they would meet to discuss the outcome of the case, a party spokeswoman said.

The decision was a vindication of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, a constitutionally mandated watchdog who was described by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as a “Biblical David” fighting against the Goliath of corruption.

On Thursday, Madonsela said early estimates indicated Zuma might have to repay the government at least $680,000.

The uncompromising nature of the verdict – Mogoeng described it as a “profound lesson” for South Africa’s young democracy – piles more pressure on Zuma, already feeling the heat from a string of scandals.

Standing outside the court in downtown Johannesburg, opposition leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters Zuma should be removed from office and said he would table a parliamentary motion to have him impeached.

Zuma, a 73-year-old Zulu traditionalist, has been under fire since December, when his abrupt sacking of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene sent the rand into a tailspin.

Judicial independence

The rand firmed to a near-four month high against the dollar as Mogoeng delivered his ruling.

The African National Congress’ majority in parliament is likely to give political cover against any attempt to impeach Zuma, but the ruling may embolden opponents within the ruling party to challenge him.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ayesha Kajee, a political analyst, said the ruling signalled “the beginning of the end” for the president “but not quite his deathbed yet”.

Economic equality still elusive in South Africa

Kajee also said the opposition did not have “sufficient numbers in parliament to impeach” Zuma, who she said still enjoyed support from rural voters.

But for many South Africans, Kajee said the court’s decision was a “sigh of relief that the judiciary is still independent in this country”.

The 2014 report on the upgrades to Zuma’s residence made clear that he should pay for anything not security-related, in particular the cattle enclosure, amphitheatre, visitor centre, chicken run and swimming pool.

Zuma refused to comply, ordering parallel investigations by the public works and police ministries that largely exonerated him, based on declarations that included calling the swimming pool a fire-fighting reservoir.

In her report, Madonsela said the Treasury and police should work out the “reasonable cost” of the final cost of the five items she deemed non-essential.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Abuja Court Grants Metuh N400 million Bail

The Federal High Court sitting Abuja has granted bail to the embattled
National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr.
Olisa Metuh, to the tune of N400million.

In a bench ruling on Tuesday, trial Justice ,Okon Abang ordered Metuh
to produce two sureties who must deposit the sum of N200m each.

The court maintained that the sureties must not only be residents in
Abuja, but also owners of landed ıproperties within the Maitama district
of the FCT.

They are to submit the Certificate of Occupancy of the properties to the
Chief Registrar of the court for verification, as well as submit their
three years tax clearance.

According to the court, the sureties must swear to an affidavit of means
and also submit two recent passport photographs.

Justice Abang also ordered Metuh to surrender his international
passport to the Chief Registrar of the high court.

The PDP spokesman who was remanded in Kuje Prison last Friday, was
brought to court  in handcuffs.

He was brought to court in a prison bus with registration No. PS-682-AO.

Metuh is answering to a seven-count criminal charge that was preferred
against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.ı

He is facing trial alongside his firm, ıDestra Investment Limited, ıover
alleged N400m fraud.
The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016, was signed by the Assistant
Director, Legal & Prosecution Department of the EFCC, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir.

The court fixed January 25 to commence  hearing on
the case.

Zimbabwe: CIO Story Journalists Appear in Court, Out On U.S.$200 Bail Each

Two NewsDay journalists who were arrested this week for publishing a story about CIO bonuses have been granted bail after they appeared at the Harare magistrate courts Friday.

Both Nqaba Matshazi (deputy editor) and Xolisani Ncube (reporter) were granted $200 bail each by magistrate Elijah Makomo.

The two spent the night in detention at Harare Central after they were picked up from their offices for publishing a story which revealed that the CIO were paid their December salaries and bonuses while the rest of the government workers went for the festive season holiday without their wages.

Source : New Zimbabwe

Appeal Court sacks Wike, orders fresh poll

Court Discharges Nnamdi Kanu, DSS Re arrests Him

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An Abuja  Magistrate Court on Wednesday  has discharged the Director of Radio Biafra and Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),
Nnamdi Kanu, on all counts of criminal conspiracy and ownership of an unlawful society brought against him by the Federal Government.

The Chief Magistrate of Wuse zone 2, Abuja, Shuaibu Usman struck out
the case, following  the  Department of State Services (DSS)  decision to discontinue with the case.

The Chief Magistrate ruled: “The accused person is hereby
discharged and the case struck out.”

The prosecution decided to withdraw the case from the Magistrate court to a high court, due to the fact that the lower court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate in matters relating to terrorism.

Usman was scheduled to deliver judgment on the application of the DSS on December 1, but he put it off until December 16.

The DSS has continued to hold Kanu in their custody despite an order of the magistrate court granting him bail in October.

After the lower court granted him bail, the DSS got an order of the
Federal High court, Abuja, to keep the leader of IPOB in detention.

However, his lawyer, Vincent Obetta, filed a counter application,
seeking bail for the accused person.

Meanwhile, Justice of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Adeniyi Ademola,
is expected to rule on the bail application on Thursday.

Court Adjourns Case Between Scouts and Oyo State Govt. 14 December

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An Oyo state High Court sitting in Iyaganku, Ibadan, Nigeria has adjourned the suit instituted by the Scouts Association of Nigeria, Oyo state council against the State Government to  Monday,14 December, 2015.

The Presiding Judge, Justice L.A Ganiyu expressed reservations over the absence of the Defendant’s counsel, while noting that his personal feeling had nothing to do with the administration of justice.

The Defendant’s counsel was absent, but represented by another lawyer.

The claimant’s counsel, Mr. Obafunsho Ogunkeye , in his submission, stated that since March 2014, the defendant’s counsel had been giving various excuses, seeking adjournment, which had stalled the hearing of the case.

While adjourning the case, Justice Ganiyu awarded costs of N5,000 in favour of the claimants against the defendant.

Before this time, the case was in Court 7, Ring-road, Ibadan, Nigeria.

The Oyo state Government commissioned the market on  Tuesday, 25 June,2013 at the  Scout camp area, Molete, without regard to the lingering suit currently in an Ibadan high court, challenging its forceful take over of the land belonging to Scouts Association of Nigeria
The registered trustees of the Boys scouts of Nigeria had filed a suit with number I/1085/12, challenging the revocation of its interest in the land in dispute by the state Government.
The Boys scout insisted that the revocation was not done in compliance with
the land use act, cap 202, LFN 1990. The disputed land measures approximately 12.21.
The presiding Judge of high court 7, Justice Eni Esan, had adjourned the matter sine die, informing  both parties that hearing notice would be communicated to them, after the state government disregarded an order restraining it from constructing structures on the disputed land.
The state Government went on, to place an  advertorial in a national newspaper, referring to the market it constructed on the disputed land, as one of its numerous achievements.
At the onset of the present administration in the state, government promised to construct neighbourhood markets in 27 locations at different parts of the state. However, the scout camp neighbourhood market still remains the most visible. The Governor, Abiola Ajimobi has repeatedly amplified the importance of the market in a radio jingle.
Ajimobi, had also insisted that his achievements were unprecedented. ”Unlike those who just develop haphazardly, we are not doing that. We have planned them, we have working papers, we have the blueprints and I tell you, by the time we  leave, we would have left  legacies that no one before us will surpass. Our people are very happy with us. We are not doing construction by propaganda”.
”Those who are condemning us, let them tell us what they did. The good thing is that many of them had been there in the past, what did they do ? We thought of some of these projects and we executed them in two years, but some thought of them and were here for four years and they never did anything”, the Governor  had stated.

Between The Court Rooms And The People By Solomon Adewunmi

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The percentage of Judges and Magisterates in Nigeria,who have the tendency to sacrifice their integrity and career on the altar of filthy lucre are increasing by the day.

Most Nigerians, have a tale or the other to tell of their experiences in the courtrooms, good or bad, with the latter case occupying the majority position.

Interim injunctions, rulings and delivered judgements from the court rooms in the country have always attracted comments,questions and debates among the people, who still view the Judiciary,as the last resort and only hope of the common man.

However,the common man still finds it difficult to come to terms with the fact that the financial position of an individual determines what he comes out with from the court room.

In 2004, Justice Stanley Nnaji of the Enugu state Judiciary was suspended from office by the National Judicial Council(NJC), for ordering the then  Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, to remove the then Anambra state Governor, Chris Ngige from office.

Also in the same year in Enugu state, Justice Anthony Onovo,ofthe Nsukka  Judicial Division,was asked by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman NJC to give reasons for delivering a controversial judgement.

Justice  Onovo’s judgement had led to the demolition of a six bedroom bungalow,Nursery and Primary school and a poultry farm at No. 29 John Nwod close, Government Reservation Area,Enugu. The property belonged to a couple-Obed Chukwunedum and Linda Menakaya.

Following a petition written by to the Chief Justice by Menakaya,which alleged perversion of justice between Menakaya and one Dr.Harry Ezim-a United States of America based legal practitioner, the Chief Justice in a letter dated May 24, 2004,with reference No. NJC/873/1/185, requested Justice Onovo to respond ”urgently” to the petition.

Before this time Justice Onovo was transferred in 2002 from the Enugu Judicial Division toNsukka Judicial Division,but for undisclosed reasons, he continued to adjudicate on some cases, he was in charge in Enugu, before his transfer to Nsukka.

Of worry, is the fact that similar instances abound in several court rooms in the country,today.

Interestingly,the then state Chief Judge, never authorized Justice Onovo to conclude pending cases in his court before his transfer. This exposed his hidden interests in those cases.

The case between Dr. Ezim and Menakaya is one of such cases.

On 3, July, 2001, Dr. Ezim had instituted a suit in the state high court,against the 78year old retired Chief Agricultural Officer,in the old Anambra state, in a bid to claim ownership of No. 29 John Nwodo close.

In the suit No. E/18301,2001, Dr. Ezim prayed the court to declare that, he legitimatley acquired the property from the siblings of a deceased, Gabriel Okiyi, a close friend of Menakaya.

Indeed, court rooms are increasingly becoming waiting rooms of injustice.

But Menakaya through his counsel,Chief Anthony Mogboh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) countered Dr. Ezim’s claim. Chief Mogboh stated that his client bought the land from late Okiyi, when he was Director in the Ministry of Agriculture in the defunct East Central state and thereafter, proceeded to build a six bedroom bungalow, a poultry farm and a Nursery and Primary school. He maintained that his client,had lived there since 1981.

Surprisingly, on 19 March,2004, Justice Onovo delivered judgement against Menakaya. In his judgement,Justice Onovo declared Menakaya a tresspasser on the land,while also ruling that Dr. Ezim was the rightful owner of the disputed property.

Less than an hour after  the judgement was  delivered, Dr. Ezim mobilised 15 thugs,three anti riot policemen and 14 policemen from the Police Area Command, Enugu and one Ugwu, the then Chief Bailiff of the Enugu state High court to eject Menakaya and his family.

On Monday,March 22, armed with a ”warrant of possession”,which Dr. Ezim claimed originated from Justice Onovo, and a caterpillar,the entire buildings were demolished.

Menakaya’s case is just one out of several thousands that have gone unnoticed. Indeed,it is very odd for some questionable legal practitioners to relocate their chambers to beer parlours,in residential  areas.

Their motives are  reflected in a beer parlour operator’s  words: “We always have our LLB, BL, beer parlour here for us,this is his chambers”.

Of interest,is the desperate attempts by individuals,who have  acquired illegitimate wealth to invest same in landed properties in major cities in the country, of course,this can only be possible with the seal of the court rooms,and the footsteps of  the law enforcement agents.

Are these attempts having the consent of the authorities that be ? Hopefully not !