Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Fresh Arraignment of Sylva, Others Stalled

The move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-arraign a former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva and six others on a 42-count amended charge involving N19.2billion was yesterday resisted by counsel to the defendants.
While Sylva and the other co-accused filed a preliminary objection to the suit on the grounds that the alleged money belonged to the Bayelsa State government, the 3rd accused (Gbenga Balogun) filed a motion seeking the disqualification of EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN from prosecuting him.
Balogun alleged that the EFCC counsel indulged in professional misconduct.
Charged with Sylva are: Francis Okokuro (2nd accused); Gbenga Balogun (3rd accused); Samuel Ogbuku (4th accused); Marlin Maritime Ltd (5th accused); Eat Catering Services Ltd (6th accused) and Haloween Blue Construction & Logistics Ltd (7th accused).
Meanwhile, the EFCC has indicated its intention to withdraw the ex parte application for the forfeiture of assets of Sylva.
However, the application was not moved as Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter to May 16, for hearing of the application to disqualify Jacobs from prosecuting the charge.
The motion dated  March17, was brought pursuant to rules 15(1) (2) (3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007.
He asked for, “An order of the court discontinuing the legal representation of learned counsel Rotimi Jacobs SAN for the complainant as the prosecution in this matter.”
He also asked the court to declare “that the conduct of the learned counsel Jacobs is in direct contravention of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.”
In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, Balogun, stated that the property at plot 1181, Thaba Tseka Crescent, off IBB Way, British Village, Wuse II, Abuja, belonging to Marlin Maritime Ltd has been a subject of litigation in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/834/2012 before Court 7 of the Federal High Court Abuja.
He added that a copy of the court’s ruling dated July 11, 2013 was attached and marked as exhibit “A”, just as he disclosed that there were pending appeals at the Court of Appeal, Abuja in appeal no CA/A/413/2013.
The 3rd accused also stated that “the appeal and cross appeal emanated from ruling of this court of July 11, 2013 in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/834/2012.”

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