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N2.4b Judgment Debt: Supreme Court reverses self in GTB, Innoson Motors case

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Supreme Court of Nigeria

The Supreme Court has set aside its earlier ruling which dismissed Guaranty Trust Bank’s appeal against a N2.4 billion judgment in favour of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited.

The apex court set aside its own decision on Friday, while delivering judgment in an application by GTB seeking the re-listing of the appeal on the grounds that it was wrongly dismissed.

The apex court in reversing itself relied on Order 8 Rules 16 of the Supreme Court’s Rules that empowers it to set aside its decision in certain circumstances, like any other court.

Specifically, the five-member panel, led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in a unanimous decision, held that the apex court erred in its ruling of February 27, 2019, wherein it erroneously dismissed GTB’s appeal with number: SC/694/2014 against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The apex court, in the lead judgment written by Justice Tijani Abubakar, but read by Justice Abdu Aboki, claimed that it was misled by its Registry, which failed to promptly bring to the notice of the panel that sat on the case on February 27, 2019 that GTB had already filed its appellant’s brief of argument.

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The apex court noted that had the panel that sat on the case on February 27, 2019 been notified of the existence of the appellant’s brief of argument, it would not had given the ruling which dismissed GTB’s appeal on grounds of lack of diligent prosecution.

The apex court justices explained that the court has powers to reverse itself where there is any reason to do so, especially where any of the parties had obtained judgment by fraud, default or deceit; where such a decision is a nullity or where it is obvious that the court was misled into giving a decision.

According to the judgment, the circumstances of the GTB case falls into the category of the rare cases where the Supreme Court could amend or alter its own order on the grounds that the said order or judgment did not present what it intended to record.

The apex court held: “I am convinced that at the material time that the appellant’s appeal was inadvertently dismissed by this court, there was in place, a valid and subsisting brief of argument filed by the applicant.

“It will be unjust to visit the sin of the court’s Registry on an innocent, vigilant, proactive and diligent litigant.

“It is obvious from the material before us, that there were errors committed by the Registry of this court, having failed to bring to the notice of the panel of Justices that sat in chambers on February 27, 2019 that the appellant had indeed filed its brief of argument.

“This is a case deserving of positive consideration by this court.

“Having gone through all the materials in this application therefore, I am satisfied that the appellant/applicant’s brief of argument was filed before the order of this court made on February 27, 2019 dismissing the applicant’s appeal.

“The order dismissing the appeal was therefore made in error. It ought not to have been made if all materials were disclosed. The application is therefore, meritorious and hereby succeeds.”

Aboki proceeded to set aside the court’s ruling of February 27, 2019 dismissing GTB’s appeal and ordered that the appeal marked: 694/2014 “be relisted to constitute an integral part of the business of this court until its hearing and determination on the merit”.

Other members of the panel are John Okoro and Helen Ogunwumiju.

THISDAY./Eagle

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Court strikes out money laundering charge against Olisa Metuh, firm

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Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh

A Federal High Court Abuja has struck out the seven-count money laundering charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Ltd.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Emeka Nwite held that it was of no use keeping the charge in his court’s docket when the prosecution and defendants have appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

Justice Nwite, who described the retention of the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2022 as “an abuse of court process,” held that there was no way the case could return to his court without the Supreme Court first deciding the appeals by parties in the charge.

The ruling was on arguments by lawyers to the EFCC, Metuh and Destra.

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At the mention of the case on Monday, Justice Nwite asked EFCC’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Adeola about the status of the case.

Adeola said the defendants – Metuh and Destra – were earlier convicted by the Federal High Court, which conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal following the defendants’ appeals.

He said the prosecution has since lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Adeola added: “We understand that the matter was listed this morning at the instance of the defendants for application for the release of the first defendant’s international passport.”

Lawyer to Metuh, Afam Osigwe (SAN), who claimed that his client learnt, via the socio media, about hearing of case on Monday, said he had a prior discussion the EFCC lawyer on the status of the case, “because there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court in suit number: SC/ CR/583/2021 between FG Vs. Olisa Metuh and another.”

Osigwe said the EFCC was, in the appeal, urging the Supreme Court to among others, reinstate the order of the Federal High Court, which was set aside by the Court of Appeal.

“So, in the light of the reliefs sought in that appeal, it will amount to an abuse of court process for a fresh prosecution to be commenced when they are asking for reinstatement.

The Nation

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Lagos scammers defraud, rape lady in uncompleted building

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Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo

Two suspected fraudsters, Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo, have allegedly defrauded a 23-year-old girl in the Ipaja area of Lagos State.

The suspects also reportedly lured the victim to an uncompleted building on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo allegedly raped her.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the victim was on her way to a destination in Iyana Ipaja when Fisher approached her to help him locate an address.

The suspect, who reportedly presented himself as a foreign businessman to the victim, said he came to Nigeria to deliver goods to one of his clients at the address and to collect his outstanding payments.

 A source said after Fisher approached people for help to no avail, the young girl offered to help, but upon checking the address, she did not know the location.

The source said, “But as the girl was trying to help Fisher, Adebayo suddenly came as a neutral person and offered to assist Fisher, whereas they were working together. Adebayo said the address was fake, but started motivating the girl on the need for them to help Fisher.

 “Fisher, while lamenting being stranded, claimed that he was in possession of some papers that could be converted to plenty money but told Adebayo and the girl that he needed money to buy chemicals to convert the papers to money.

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“Adebayo quickly dropped N60,000. The girl, who seemed convinced, gave Fisher her gold jewellery and N10,000 and also went to withdraw N65,000 from a nearby ATM and gave it to Fisher, who told Adebayo and the girl to take an oath not to reveal his secret to anyone.”

 After taking the oath, it was learnt that Fisher gave them a location to meet him the next day.

When they got there, the Ogun State indigene reportedly showed them the sack containing the money and told Adebayo and the girl that the spirit responsible for converting the papers to money was asking for human blood as sacrifice.

“Fisher said to prevent both of them from dying, they needed to have sex. He also used the oath they took to threaten them. So, the girl out of fear of dying, followed them to an uncompleted building around 9pm on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo had sex with her,” the source said.

 PUNCH Metro gathered that after Fisher, 42, and Adebayo, 32, perpetrated the crime on September 3, 2022, the girl left the uncompleted building and proceeded to the Ipaja Police Station to report the case for investigation.

 The policemen, led by the Ipaja Divisional Police Officer, CSP Tokunbo Abaniwonda, reportedly swung into action and in a two-week sting, arrested Fisher and Adebayo at their hideouts in Ipaja on September 16, 2022.

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime, saying they only manipulated the victim.

 Adebayo said, “I only slept with her once and I used a contraceptive. I got the contraceptive at a mallam’s shop in the area. I used the contraceptive because I don’t really know the girl. I needed to protect myself.”

Narrating how he perpetrated the crime, Fisher said he met Adebayo through a friend, Bisi, who he claimed trained him on how to formulate stories to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

He said, “I have been asking a lot of people for the address. While some said they did not know the place, others advised me to go back to the country I came from, but I said I could not go back because of the goods that I brought.

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“The girl got convinced when I said I was looking for people to help me count Nigerian money because I said I don’t know how to count it. Meanwhile, I and Adebayo had been talking to people but they did not answer us.

“It was when the girl was passing that I explained to her and she listened to me. So, Adebayo also pretended to be a passer-by and when he was passing, I signalled to him, and asked the girl to help me ask him for the location of the address and Adebayo said he had not heard of such an address before.”

 Reacting, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the suspects had been charged to court.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Fisher and Adebayo, who are both married with two children each, were arraigned at the Ejigbo Magistrate’s Court on three counts bordering on obtaining by false pretences, fraudulent conversion and sexual assault, offences punishable under sections 411, 314 (1), 287 and 136 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

 The men were later remanded in prison as the matter was adjourned till October 17, 2022, for further hearing.

Fraudsters have been deploying different tactics to swindle unsuspecting members of the public out of their valuables in different parts of Lagos State.

 In August 2022, 35-year-old Olumide Womiloju was arraigned for fraud before Chief Magistrate P.E. Nwaka at a magistrate’s court sitting in the Yaba area of the state, for allegedly obtaining N5m from clients after promising to process their visas to travel overseas.

Also in August, a suspected fraudster, Emmanuel Rolland, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to defraud unsuspecting residents in the Ikorodu area of the state.

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Seven passengers burnt to death in bus accident in Lagos

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Seven passengers were on Sunday burnt to death in a commercial bus that caught fire in the Iyana Oworo area of Lagos State.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident in a statement.

Permanent Secretary at LASEMA, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, attributed the cause of the accident to reckless driving.

The statement said, “Upon arrival at the scene, a commercial bus of 14 passengers with registration number KJA 699 GY was discovered to have been gutted with fire.

“Further investigation gathered at the scene revealed that the incident occurred due to recklessness by the driver which resulted in the fire with 12 passengers trapped.

“Unfortunately seven victims, four males, two females and a male child were burnt to death. The driver escaped with some burns while three female adults were rescued and rushed to Gbagada General Hospital. A male adult was also attended to by LASAMBUS at the scene.”

The LASEMA permanent secretary said their remains had been bagged by the agency’s paramedics and handed over to the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU).

He said, “Arrangements have been made by LASTMA officials at the scene for the removal of the burnt vehicle from the road. Road is partially opened for vehicular activities.”

 

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