EFCC Blames Justice A.R Muhammed And Adeniyi Ademola For Ex-Gov. Sylva Recovered Properties

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has blamed Justice A.R Muhammed and Justice Adeniyi Ademola for the recovery of  ex-governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva’s 48 houses which were marked for forfeiture.
The anti-graft agency took to Twitter to explain how the former governor was able to get the properties back after a 2016 publication on EFCC handing over the said houses to the Mr. Sylva resurfaced on social media.

In the series of tweets, EFCC said 42 counts and 50 count charges, which had the houses forfeited as part of the trial, were first filed before Justice Mohammed and later Justice Adeniyi Ademola respectively but the judges dismissed the cases.
“He was facing a 42-count charge before Justice Mohammed of the FHC Abuja. Said properties were forfeited as part of the trial. #EFCConSylva
“EFCC applied to consolidate charges against him before Justice Mohammed after DPP on June 1, 2015 withdrew its own charges #EFCConSylva
“June 10, 2015 rather than hear the case, Justice Mohammed dismissed charges without him and co-defendants taking their pleas #EFCConSylva
Timipre Sylva living large on corruption
“EFCC expressed its discontent at the ruling, and CJ of FHC Abuja reassigned the case to Justice Ademola of the FHC Abuja. #EFCConSylva
“On June 12, 2015 EFCC filed fresh charge, and on July 9, 2015 brought 50 counts against him before Justice Ademola #EFCConSylva
“EFCC had expected speedy/fair trial. But no! Few days to Bayelsa gov election, Justice Ademola freed him without pleas taken. #EFCConSylva” EFCC Nigeria tweeted.
The former governor of Bayelsa state was arraigned alongside Francis Okonkwo, Gbenga Balogun, and Samuel Ogbuku, for laundering N19.2 billion from the state’s coffers.
It was alleged that they used Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited to siphon the money from the treasury of Bayelsa state.
However, the case did not move on to the trial stage before justice Muhammed dismissed the charges on a letter written by the prosecutor informing the court that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) which was also trying the Mr. Sylva in Federal High Court in Abuja, withdrew their charges against the defendant. The commission then asked the court to allow it “consolidate on the charges” but the judge dismissed the case outright.
According to EFCC, the justice Muhammed dismissed the case because he perceived that there was an attempt to interfere with court processes and the administration of justice. Hence he ruled that “an improper use of the machinery of this court has been made in this case and so the charges are hereby dismissed”
In other to remedy the situation, the commission said it promptly filed another 50 count charges against Mr. Sylva and his accomplices before justice Ademola in the same Abuja court but of June 25, 2015 that the case first came up before the second judge, the defense counsel filed an application stating that the case had been dismissed by Justice Muhammed, adding that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.
However, Rotimi Jacobs, EFCC counsel, argued that there was indeed a prima facie case against the defendants, adding that the court had jurisdiction to try the case since the offences where committed in Abuja.
He further stressed that the applications of the defense counsel were “thoroughly misconceived”. Mr. Jacobs also argued that the charges dismissed by Justice Muhammed had not even been read to the accused persons as they had not taken their pleas before the judge dismissed the case.
Subsequently, Justice Ademola adjourned to July 9, 2015 to hear all applications challenging the competence of the court.
On the said adjourned date, Justice Ademola deferred ruling on the case to a later date that would be communicate to the parties.
For months later, on November 26, 2015, nine days before the 2015 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa, Justice Ademola also dismissed the charges.
EFCC claimed that the judge did not consider the argument of the commission in his ruling.
Even though EFCC said it would appeal the case, the anti-graft agency has not instituted any appeal against the dismissal.

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