Money laundering: Court dismisses charges against Sylva
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court,
Abuja, on Thursday dismissed the new 50- count
charge of money laundering brought against the All
Progressives Congress (APC) governorship
candidate in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva and some
others by the Economic and Financial Crimes
The judge while ruling on the preliminary objection
filed by Sylva and two others, held that his court
was without the requisite jurisdiction to entertain
the charge, which he said was an abuse of court
Justice Ademola said since one of two similar
charges earlier filed by the EFCC against Sylva and
others had been dismissed and the other struck
out, the EFCCâ€™s decision to consolidate the earlier
two charges in the new one showed desperation to
convict the accused persons at all cost.
The EFCC filed the fresh 50-count charge on June 12
this year shortly after Justice Ahmed Mohammed
of the Federal High Court, Abuja, dismissed an
earlier charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/167 which the
commission filed against Sylva and others.
Also, Justice Evoh Chukwu of the same court struck
out another charge filed against the ex-governor.
The new charge had Sylva, Francis Okokuro,
Gbenga Balogun, Samuel Ogbuku, Marlin Maritime
Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and
Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited
They were accused of using the companies to
launder about N19.2bn from Bayelsa State coffers
between 2009 and 2012, under false pretences of
using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of
the state government.
Justice Ademola noted that since a judge of the
court (Justice Mohammed) had dismissed a similar
charge, the only option for the prosecution was to
appeal the decisions rather than bringing a fresh
charge containing the same facts and on the same
issues before his court.
â€œThe ruling of my brother Justice A. R. Mohammed
dismissing the earlier charge still subsists. That
ruling ended the jurisdiction of this court, until it is
set aside by a superior court, this court lacks the
jurisdiction to hear this charge.
â€œIt is the courtâ€™s opinion that this criminal charge is
a complete abuse of the process of this court. It
shows evidence of malice and desperation to
perverse the process of court,â€ the judge ruled.
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