Money laundering: Court dismisses charges against Sylva

By 10:34 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 Comments

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

Commission (EFCC).

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 EFCC’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

as defendants.

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using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of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.

“The 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.

“It is the court’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,” the judge ruled.

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