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Money laundering charges: Court acquits ex-air commodore, Umar Mohammed

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A retired air commodore, Umar Mohammed has been discharged and acquitted by a federal high court sitting in Abuja over money laundering charges.

Mohammed was, in 2020, re-arraigned alongside his company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited, before Inyang Ekwo, the judge, on charges bordering on money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and possession of official documents without lawful authority.

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Recall that the federal government in March 2021 had tendered before a federal high court in Abuja, $1,030,000 it allegedly recovered from Mohammed’s residence.

The office of the attorney-general of the federation, who was the prosecution, had called one witness, Stephen Olatubosun, an official of the Department of State Service (DSS).

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Mohammed had testified as the only defence witness and told the court that he is a businessman dealing in oil and gas, both upstream and downstream, aircraft charter and aviation, as well as air cargo, both local and international.

He also submitted that the money found in his residence was his personal funds used for his business.

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Delivering judgment on Friday, Ekwo, the presiding judge, held that the prosecution failed to prove the essential ingredients of the charge.

“The cardinal principle of law is that the commission of a crime by a party must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” he held

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“This is the law laid down in Section 138 (1) of the Evidence Act. The burden never shifts.”

Ekwo held that since the prosecution failed to cross-examine the defendant after his testimony, it amounts to conceding to the evidence averred.

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“The prosecution did not cross-examine DW1 after his evidence-in-chief; instead, applied to close his case,” Ekwo said.

“I agree with the learned silk of counsel for the defendants that the evidence of DW1 not having been controverted is deemed as admitted. This is the position of the law.

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“The position of the law as settled in many authorities is that evidence adduced in court, that is relevant to the issue in controversy, and has neither been challenged nor successfully debunked becomes good and credible evidence, which ought to be relied upon by a learned trial judge.

“In criminal cases, failure to cross-examine a witness on vital evidence elicited during examination in chief is fatal as the prosecution has no other method of disputing such witness or his evidence save by cross-examination.

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“On the whole, I find that the prosecution has failed to prove counts one and two on the charge sheet beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the prosecution has failed to discharge the burden of proof as required by law in this case.

“Where at the conclusion of trial, the prosecution has failed to prove the essential ingredients of a charge, thereby leaving any doubt in the mind of the court, the court is bound to resolve the doubt in favour of the defendants.

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“As it is, the doubt in me is resolved in favour of the defendants and I so hold. I make an order discharging and acquitting the defendants in this case. This is the order of this court.”

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‘Thank You Visit’: Buhari lauds Gov. Dapo Abiodun’s legacy projects

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the newly-commissioned roads in eOgun Stat will cut travel time considerably, lauding incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun for being diligent on security and other projects that touch the lives of the people. 

Buhari made the disclosure Friday when he received illustrious citizens of the Gateway State at State House Abuja, who had come to show appreciation for the visit the President paid their State a fortnight ago.

The President in his remark recalled that he began his military career in Abeokuta as a Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army, “so I will always see Ogun as home.”

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He appreciated Aremo Olusegun Osoba, a former Governor of the State, who was in the delegation, saying “we have known each other for a very long time.”

A statement signed by the President Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeshina, quoted Governor Abiodun as saying that the visit was to “express appreciation for the love you have shown our State, and your visit has reassured us that you love our people, and you will continue to give us deserving support.”

He assured that he would continue to make life abundant for the people of Ogun State, through adequate security and economic emancipation.

The Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, Chairman of the Council of Obas in his speech said: “Your visit was monumental. We are glad that you are part of the history of our State. I bring you the greetings and appreciation of the more than 300 Obas in Ogun.”

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Other members of the delegation were Alhaja Salimot Badru, a former deputy governor, and Chief Sulaiman Adegunwa, a foremost industrialist.

 

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Mother takes her 2 underage daughters, other girls to bandits in forest for sex

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A 39-year-old housewife and mother of six who was arrested for her involvement with bandits has revealed how she offered two of her daughters and other girls as sex slaves for Bandits.

The woman who made her confession to ‘The Sun’, said she was handsomely paid N30,000 and N50,000 for a round of sex the girls were subjected to.

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According to her, she helped the group with their chores, shopping, as well as taking care of their wives who just put to bed.

Maryam, who claimed that said she did all these because of money, added that she helped the terrorists to do most of their shopping to avoid being arrested by security agents who are on their trail.

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Her full narration has been shared below;

I was introduced into the kidnapping business by one of my brothers who introduced me to one of his friends who later became my boyfriend. I decided to date him because my husband was not taking care of me, but this my boyfriend was doing that and gave me lots of money.

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I used to go and visit him in the camp in the bush where we have sex. In the cause of our dating, he told me one day to get him some girls for his colleagues because they used to feel somehow whenever they see us together.

So, I introduced some girls from our village to them and after they visited them and spent the night with them, they told me they gave them N50,000, and I felt that my daughters too should make money also.

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So I brought two of my daughters; one is 17 and the other is 15, and they started dating the bandits and they were giving them money and that way some of the burdens I have like feeding them and clothing them, reduced on me.

When they saw that I love my boyfriend and that I was very loyal to the group, they started sending me to start doing their shopping because they are afraid that the police people and soldiers will arrest them. I used to carry plenty of money to the market and even go to the chemist to buy them drugs whenever they are sick or had injuries.

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Apart from running errands for them, I also carry out surveillance and tell them who to kidnap to make money. Sometimes, I even arrange for them to kidnap some of the girls I bring for them as sex slaves and when their family members pay the ransom, they give me my own share.”

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