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N2.1bn fraud: Appeal Court frees Dokpesi, firm

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The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday absorbed founder of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, of the N2.1 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

A three-man panel of the court in a unanimous judgment freed Dokpesi from the charges after it held that the prosecution failed to establish the ingredients of the charge.

The EFCC had in 2015 dragged Dokpesi to court accusing him and his company of illegally receiving funds considered as proceeds of crime from a former National Security Adviser to the President, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and went further to file a no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case in November 2018 with 14 witnesses.

However, Justice John Tsoho rejected the no-case submission and ordered Dokpesi and his firm to enter defence.

Not satisfied, the defendants then approached the Court of Appeal, with a request to nullify the decision and free him from the charges on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

In the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu, the appellate court agreed with the appellants that the case of the respondents lacked merit having “failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against the appellant”.

The court held that EFCC failed to prove that the N2.1 billion allegedly received by the appellant was proceed of breach of trust and accordingly set aside the decision of the lower court which held that the appellants had a case to answer.

The judge said, “No case was made against the appellant in counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 to warrant his being called upon to open his defence.

“There is no possibility that the appellant can be convicted because the evidence are manifestly unreliable.

“I am of the view that irrespective of the ingredients stated earlier, and those by the appellant and first respondent respectively, prior proof or establishment of the predicate offences in count 1,2,3 and 4 of the amended charge is sine qua non to the proof of the offences of money laundering specified in the said counts.

“In totality, this appeal has merit, it is allowed and the ruling of the Federal High Court is hereby set aside and the appellant is discharged.”

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UNGA: Nigeria ready to reverse biodiversity loss, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government has initiated some specific actions to reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss affecting the world.

The President spoke in New York, at the hybrid High-Level event tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People” on the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76).

Buhari championed regional and inter-regional cooperation towards addressing the scourge.

He outlined other measures to include: “Expansion of protected areas including the establishment of ten (10) new National Parks across the country as well as the creation of Marine Protected Areas pursuant to the 30X30 Agenda of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD); and domestication of relevant International Agreements, Conventions as well as Laws and Policies for the protection and conservation of biodiversity.”

The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, added, “Leveraging the cooperation and partnerships of the development partners as well as international organisations and coalitions for concrete action against deforestation and biodiversity loss; and promotion and increased investments in climate-positive and nature-positive economy for sustainable environment and land use practices” were other areas being worked on to confront the challenge.”

He expressed gratitude to the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, whose country currently chairs the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People (HAC) of which Nigeria is also a member and co-chair for the opportunity to be part of “this great event.”

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IPOB: There’ll be one-month lockdown in south-east if FG fails to bring Kanu to court

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) says the south-east region will go on a one-month lockdown, if the federal government fails to bring Nnamdi Kanu, its leader, to court on October 21.

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On July 26, Binta Nyako, judge of the federal high court, Abuja, adjourned the trial of Kanu till October 21, owing to the failure of the federal government to produce him in court.

In June, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and extradited to Nigeria to face trial. He was remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) after he was re-arraigned before the judge.

On August 9, the proscribed group announced the enforcement of a lockdown every Monday until Kanu is released but later suspended the directive, a few days later.

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Reacting, IPOB, in a statement, by Emma Powerful, its spokesperson, alleged that the federal government has perfected plans not to bring Kanu to court on the next adjourned date.

The group said its “peaceful resolution” towards the trial of Kanu should not be misconstrued as weakness, while stressing that there will be one month lockdown in the south-east, if the federal government fails to bring Kanu to court.

“The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great prophet and liberator of our time, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the plot by Nigeria government and DSS in Abuja not to produce our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to court on 21st October 2021, the date he is due to appear in court to start his case,” the statement reads.

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“The federal government of Nigeria has again perfected plans not to bringing him to court on that day. Their wicked plan is to perpetually keep him behind bars without trial to see if they can demoralise him and Biafrans but they are late.

“If the federal government refuses to bring him to court in his next court appearance on October 21, 2021, the entire Biafra land will be on total lock down for one month. The federal government will know that they cannot take us for granted any more. Our peaceful disposition as a people should not be misconstrued as weakness.

“Their plan is to suppress agitation and force everyone into submission but Biafrans won’t succumb to their intimidation.”

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Reps summon Sunday Dare over athletes’ disqualification at Tokyo Olympics

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The house of representatives has summoned Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, over the disqualification of 10 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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The lower chamber passed the resolution during plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Lawrence Ayeni, lawmaker from Osun state.

The minister is to brief the lawmakers on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

TheCable had reported how the AIU disqualified 10 Nigerian track and field athletes for failing to comply with the out-of-competition testing (OCT) requirement.

AIU said Nigeria is among countries deemed to have the highest doping risk, and the athletes were expected to undergo “at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event”.

Leading the debate on the motion on Wednesday, Ayeni said Nigeria was disqualified despite the “huge funds” available to the sports ministry and preparation made by the athletes.

“Nigeria delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating the comity of nations,” he said.

“Concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests.”

The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.

While mandating its committee on sports to investigate the cause of the “failed doping test to forestall future occurrence,” the green chamber asked the ministry of sports to put measures in place to “ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions”.

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