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No clarity yet on probe of former Bayelsa governor

10 July 2015, 10:46Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - The Federal High Court in Abuja has not set a date to rule on either proceeding with the trial of former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, or quashing the charges against him.

The case involving the ex-premier, who the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting before Justice AF Ademola on a fresh 50-count charge bordering on stealing and money laundering, came up for hearing on Thursday.

Sylva is being charged alongside Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, and Samuel Ogbuku. They allegedly used three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited  for  moving over N19.2 billion from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012.

Justice AR Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja had on June 10 dismissed the 42-count charge of stealing earlier brought against Sylva and his co-accused by the EFCC, with the excuse that the prosecution’s application to consolidate the charges before him, against the defendants, amounted to an abuse of court process.

Also Read: Sylva withdraws from Bayelsa governorship race

The commission however, faulted the ruling on the grounds that it was premature as the accused persons had not even taken any plea before the court, and subsequently filed the fresh 50 count charge at the Federal High Court.

At the last adjourned date the trial judge had fixed yesterday for hearing on pending applications by the defendants challenging the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court.

However, Justice Ademola has derred ruling on the applications for a later date.

The new date, the judge said, would be communicated to both parties.

Sylva was governor between 2008 and 2012 on a People’s Democratic Party ticket.

- CAJ News


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