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Supreme court says Customs may appeal N2billion judgement debt to Innoson

CGC, Ali

The Supreme Court has granted the Nigeria Customs Service Board’s application to challenge the February 6, 2014 judgment of the Court of Appeal that affirmed an N2,048,737,443.57 judgment debt in favour of Innoson Nigeria Limited.

A five-man panel of the court, in a unanimous ruling, upheld the prayers of Customs – the applicant – canvassed through its counsel Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), by a Motion on Notice filed on November 9, 2020.

The panel comprised Justices Olukayode Ariwoola, John Inyang Okoro, Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju, Abdu Aboki and Tijani Abubakar.

Justice Aboki, who read the panel’s decision on January 14th, 2022, agreed with the lead ruling of Justice Abubakar, that Customs’ argument was meritorious.

The court held: “Having granted the application, therefore, the following orders are hereby made:

“1. Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to appeal as an interested party against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division in appeal number CA/1/258/2011.

“II. Time is extended to the applicant to seek for leave to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal on grounds of mixed law and facts.

“III. Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal, Ibadan division, on grounds of mixed law and facts.

“IV. Time is extended to the applicant within which to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal, Ibadan Division in suit No. CA/1/258/2011.

“V. Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to raise new points in this appeal.

“VI. Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to adduce new evidence.

“VII. Applicant shall file its Notice of Appeal within thirty days from today.

“Parties shall bear their respective costs.”

The 1st respondent – GTBank – was represented by Chief Aribisala, SAN, while 2nd respondent – Innoson – was represented by Prof J.N.M. Mbadugha.

The appeal, marked SC.816/2020, arose from a May 18, 2010 judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan in Suit No: FHC/I/CS/603/2006: (1) Innoson Nigeria Limited V. Nigerian Customs Service Board and (2) Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) in which the sum of N700,220,000 was awarded against the Defendants and in favour of the Plaintiff,Innoson, with interest at the rate of 22% per annum from the date of commencement of the action and 22% per annum until the final liquidation of the judgment debt.

On 12th January 2011, Innoson wrote to the AGF, who directed that the entirety of the judgment sum, (which at that time stood at One Billion, Eight Hundred and Eighty One Million, Two Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty One Naira, Seventeen Kobo), be paid Innoson.

The Applicant (Customs) paid to Innoson, the sum of N700, 220,000, leaving an outstanding of One Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty Five Million, One Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Fourteen Naira, Ninety-Seven Kobo.

Following an application by Innoson, the Federal High Court Ibadan, on July 29, 2011 made a garnishee order absolute against three Banks, for the sum of N2,048,737,443.57.

One of the banks appealed the decision of the Garnishee proceedings to the Court of Appeal, Ibadan. According to the Customs, the bank withdrew its appeal against Customs and the AGF, whereupon their names were struck out of the appeal, and subsequently, no processes were served on Customs by reason of the withdrawal.

But the Court of Appeal affirmed the garnishee absolute of the Trial Court and ordered that the sum of N2, 048,737,443.67 be released from the Customs’ account in satisfaction of the judgment debt.

Customs averred that Innoson failed to inform the Court of Appeal that consequent upon negotiations between it, Innoson and the AGF, Customs remitted N700, 220,000.00 into Innoson’s account with MAINSTREET BANK on 28th November, 2011, before the Court of Appeal affirmed the Order of the Trial Court.

It said Innoson, on March 27, 2019, caused to be issued out of the Federal High Court, Awka Division, a Writ FiFa, for the full sum of N2, 048,737,443.67 and interest at the rate of 22% per annum from 29th July 2011, (the date of the garnishee order absolute), till date.

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Lagos princess congratulates Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu

… tasks them on development of maritime economy
The eyewitness reporter
The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu have been tasked with paying attention to the maritime economy for its development for the overall benefit of Nigeria and her citizenry.
Giving the task with congratulatory messages, a Lagos princess, Princess Ronke Kosoko, noted that developing the maritime economy would instigate the economic development of the nation.
Princess Kosoko who is the CEO of Employment Clinic and Coordinator, Project One Million Jobs,
congratulated Asiwaju Tinubu and Governor Sanwo-Olu on their well-deserved victories at the polls.
She was confident that the Nigerian maritime economy will gain immensely from the Tinubu administration even as she enjoined the President-elect to focus on the industry.
Kosoko noted that skilled maritime personnel is aging and there is a need to transfer their wealth of experience to the younger generation who needs to be prepared to take over from the retiring generation.
She disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had approved the request for Project One Million Jobs to interface with agencies under the ministry for a seamless flow of talks and synergy that will positively impact and lead to a new frontier in the industry.
Ronke Kosoko unveiled her pet project, Maritime Conversion Programme (MCP), which she explained was designed to introduce Nigerian graduates to the maritime sector and improve career prospects.

Kosoko said that the MCP, which has gotten the backing of the government, would give support and connect not less than 5000 Nigerian graduates with the right employers in the industry who can engage them in non-technical aspects of shipping.

She noted that women will be given an adequate percentage under MCP, stating that the MCP is not creating jobs but providing a fertile ground for the transfer of knowledge from old Nigerians in the industry to young ones.

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Ekweremadu, wife may go to jail as London court finds them guilty of organ tafficking

Ike Ekweremadu; his wife, Beatrice;
The Eyewitness reporter with agency report

A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; his wife Beatrice; and their doctor, Obinna Obeta have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.

Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Obeta, 51; were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.

They  allegedly criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found, according to UK Guardian.

Ekweremadu and his wife were charged in the United Kingdom after they allegedly lured a young man from Nigeria to harvest his organ for their ailing daughter, Sonia.
The lawmaker was last year arrested and had been in the custody of UK authorities after they received complaints from the young man about their alleged plans to harvest his organ.

The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, told the court on Thursday the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.

He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.

The behaviour of Ekweremadu, a successful lawyer and founder of an anti-poverty charity who helped draw up Nigeria’s laws against organ trafficking, showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.

He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.

Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal.

“It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”

Ekweremadu, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam.

Obeta, who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically.

Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.

The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass sentence at a later date.

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EFCC arraigns bank manager, two others for N55m fraud in Makurdi

Owolola Adebola

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC,) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a  branch manager of First City Monument Bank, (FCMB,) Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos, on a five-count charge bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) fraud.

Kichime Gomwalk, while serving as branch Manager, FCMB Plc, Murtala Mohammed Way Jos, in Plateau State is alleged to have forged COCIN GRATUITY CERTIFICATE OF PLEDGE/LETTER OF SET-OFF dated 30th DECEMBER, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors, which he used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55, 000.000.00 (Fifty-Five Million Naira) with COCIN Gratuity account N0. 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc

Count one of the charges reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 at Jos, in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did conspire among yourselves to commit an unlawful act to with without Lawful authority engaged in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc and thereby committed an offense of conspiracy contrary to section 59 (1) of the Plateau State Penal Code Law, (20017) and punishable under Section 59 (2) of the same Law”.

Count two reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court fraudulently used LETTER OF CONSENT to engage in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc knowing that at the time of acquisition of the said money, it was derived from the unlawful activity and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (Establishment Act) 2004, and Punishable under section 18 (2) of the same Act”.

The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charge was read to them.

 The prosecution counsel, Uwaise Yusuf urged the court to remand the defendants and fix a date for trial.

The judge adjourned the case till May 18, 2023, and ordered the remand of the defendants at the Jos Correctional Center pending the hearing of their bail applications.

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