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Court Orders Unfreezing Of Dokpesi’s N2.1b Bank Account

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Raymond Dokpesi Arrested , Released In London

Citing a lack of an order to stay the execution of a previous ruling , the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, on Tuesday issued an order unfreezing the N2.1 billion bank account of the founder of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Justice Tsoho ordered that the account domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria be immediately unfreezed since the criminal charges, which precipitated the restriction on the account had been dismissed and Dokpesi discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal.

Delivering ruling in an application filed and argued by Kanu Agabi SAN, on behalf of Dokpesi, Justice Tsoho said that the Federal Government has no basis to put a post-no-debit order on the account in view of the subsisting and valid order of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Tsoho delivered judgment after taking arguments from Dokpesi’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN and counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Oluwaleke Atolagbe.

The Chief Judge held that since the Court of Appeal delivered the judgment that invalidated the criminal charges against Dokpesi, the EFCC had not applied for stay of execution of the judgment.

Justice Tsoho said that in the absence of a stay of execution, his court was bound by law to give effect and implementation to the judgment.

He thereafter ordered that the freeze order and post-no-debit on the account be immediately removed in compliance with the appellate court’s decision.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Release Of Five Dunamis Worshipers Arrested by DSS

On the claim of EFCC that it has gone on appeal to the Supreme Court, Justice Tsoho held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court cannot in law stay the execution of the subsisting judgment adding that the anti-graft agency ought to have obtained a stay of execution of the judgment.

He also ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi or voluntarily surrendered to the Federal Government be immediately returned to him.

Atolagbe, in a bid to convince the judge, had drawn the attention of the court to the fact that the Department of State Services, DSS, and National Intelligence Agency, NIA, made respondents in the matter, did not appear before the court and as such the court could not make valid order against them.

 

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BREAKING: Alex Otti Of Labour Party Emerges Abia Governor-elect

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Alex Otti

Alex Otti of the Labour Party has emerged the winner of Abia State governorship election.

This followed the eventual declaration, on Wednesday, of the results of the controversial Obingwa Local Government Area results.

With the conclusion of the collation of the outstanding results of the election, the Peoples Democratic Party scored 9,962 votes while the Labour Party, 3,776 votes in the LGA.

Consequently, the LP has won in 10 LGAs, the PDP in six LGAs, and the Young Peoples Party in one LGA.

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Abia State, Chief Alex Otti, was, consequently declared the winner of the 2023 governorship election in Abia State.

Otti polled a total of 175,466 to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the PDP who scored 88,526.

The Returning Officer, Prof. Nnenna Oti, declared the LP candidate the winner at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Umuahia, the state capital, Wednesday afternoon after completing the suspended collation of results.

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CAN, Churches Defeat Govt Over CAMA Act

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Emefiele Sick, Can't Meet With Reps - CBN
President Buhari

It was victory for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and churches under it as a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, stopped the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) from suspending or appointing their trustees.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the provisions of Sections 17 (1), 839 (1) and (7) (a), 842 (1) and (2), 851 and 854 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020 and Regulations 28, 29 and 30 of the Companies Regulations (CR), 2021 were not applicable to CAN and the churches, including mosques, as a religious body.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Registered Trustees of CAN, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2022 field by Joe Gadzama, SAN, had sued the CAC and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

The plaintiff, in the suit, had posed five questions for determination.

CAN had asked the court to determine that whether Section 839, Subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA, 2020 and regulations 28 – 30 of the CR, 2021 are inconsistent with Sections 4 (8), 6 (6) (b) and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which guarantees the its right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court, among others.

It, therefore, sought 13 reliefs which include a declaration that Section 839 (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA and Sections 28 – 30 of the CR are inconsistent with |Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) and (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.

“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) and (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void and for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”

CAN also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining and barring the defendants from taking any step to give effect to the provisions of Sections 17(2) (a) and (d), 839(1), 842(1) and (2), 842(1) and (2), 842, 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA against it as mentioned in Article 4 of its constitution, to prevent further contravention of the provisions of Sections 4(8), 6(6)(b), 251(1)(e) and 251(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

It argued if CAC was allowed to suspend its trustees and appoint interim managers to manage its affairs, it would be usurping its powers under the constitution and the powers of the standing committee and the plenary session which would not be in line with the constitution.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo said that the CAC did not controvert the averment of CAN that it was constituted by the churches.

“It is settled law that averments without contradicting evidence or averments are deemed admitted.

“There is a need at this point to define what a church is in order to see how applicable the provisions of the CAMA 2020 can be applicable to it,” he said.

Citing a previous case, the judge said “a church in its true definition is the body of Christ. One person cannot constitute the body of Christ; it connotes a congregation, an assembly of people. An individual cannot own a church. A church property must be the collective responsibility of all the members.”

He said the summary of the above was that “the church is an ecclesiastical being.

“Each church is characterised by its distinct dogma or creed and same for each congregation and denomination that constitute the church.

“It is on this ground that it is impossible for one church to be administered by another church and the church being what it is for the soul of man, the doctrinal distinctness and difference must be respected by the authorities within and without.

“This being so, it is then impracticable for the church or a denomination thereof to be administered by secular arrangement such as interim manager or managers stated in

Section 839 of the CAMA 2020 or any other arrangement put in place by the CAMA which does not take into account the doctrinal composition of the church.

“It is also my opinion that to suspend the trustees and appoint an interim manager or managers to manage the affairs of the church will conflict with the sacerdotal order of its divine administration and desecrate same.”

Justice Ekwo, who observed that the Minister of Trade (2nd defendant) neither filed any application nor represented in court despite being served by the plaintiff, held that the effect of the failure of a defendant to file pleadings is that the assertions of the claimant stands unchallenged and are deemed admitted and established.

According to him, therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on the merit.

The judge, consequently, made a seven declarations, which include a declaration that Section 839 (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA 2020 and Regulations 28, 29 and 30 of the CR , 2021 are not applicable to religious organisation as CAN and the churches as they violated the right to worship guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He also made an order of perpetual Injunction, “restraining the defendants from taking any step to give effect to or implementing and/or continuing with any act to implement the provisions of Sections 839 (1), 842 (1) and (2), 842, 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA 2020.

Justice Ekwo, however, did not make the generic order striking down the sections of the CAMA 2020 as prayed by the plaintiff.

He said such an order would affect other bodies and organisations registered under Part F of the Act.

“These provisions are applicable in respect of the administration, supervision and regulation of other bodies like company, limited liability partnership, business name or incorporated trustee registered for other purposes stated in Section 823 (1) of the CAMA 2020.

“The court is also unable to strike down the provision of Section 17 (2) (a) and (d) of the CAMA 2020 which provides for mandatory pre-action notice to the 1st defendant, as prayed, as the practicability of compliance with such provision depends on the circumstance of each case thereby affected,” he said.

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BREAKING:Confusion As INEC Rejects Irregular Votes In Abia, Enugu Governorship Election Results

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INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu

There is confusion over the governorship election results of Enugu and Abia States as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected some votes it considered irregular.

The Labour Party agents and governorship candidate in Enugu State opposed results collation of Nkanu East council, claiming that the votes were padded.

This was as political thugs reportedly disrupted collation of results in Obingwa council area of Abia State.

These have led to the suspension of the exercise by the electoral umpire on Sunday in the two states.

An INEC official said that the commission had rejected the allegedly padded results after a careful review of the exercise on Tuesday, and wanted the right things to be done.

“For Abia State, INEC ordered that the results should be announced based on the accredited voters,” the source said.

On Enugu’s case, the commission according to the source has similarly ordered the review of the results of the Enugu State Governorship Election of last Saturday.

The collation was suspended following controversy over the alleged padding of results from Nkanu East Council, which returned over 30,000 votes in favour of Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Mr Peter Mbah, while only about 7,000 voters were accredited in the area by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

The suspension of the announcement of results of Abia and Enugu gubernatorial elections had heightened tension in the two states.

The supporters of PDP’s Mbah have been calling on INEC to announce the results that had been collated and declare their candidate the winner, saying those who opposed the result should go to court.

In Abia, Dr Alex Otti of the Labour Party had won a total of 10 out of the 16 Local Government Area results so far declared by INEC, while his counterpart in Enugu, Hon Chijioke Edeoga, has won nine local governments and is currently in the lead in the state.

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