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EFCC vs Kalu: Lawyers condemn ‘forum shopping’

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Senior lawyers, yesterday, condemned an alleged plot to move the trial of former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu from the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to Lagos.
They said it amounted to ‘forum shopping’ and an abuse of court process.
Besides, they avered the EFCC could have an ulterior motive in allegedly planning to move the case from Abuja.
The former governor had, at the weekend, raised the alarm over alleged plans by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) to transfer his case pending before Justice Anwuli Chikere to another court in Lagos.
Reacting to the development, eminent lawyers, who spoke with Daily Sun condemned EFCC’s alleged move.  Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome said the prosecution does not have unilateral power to move a case from one judicial division to another except “with reason and agreement between the parties.
“Prosecution cannot solely decide to move a case to another judicial division without the consent of the court.
“For the move to be in line with the Constitution, there must be an application to that effect and it will be argued before the court decides.
“In the application, the prosecution must give reason for seeking to move the case to other judicial division because, issue of jurisdiction is not a sole right of the prosecution; right of the defendant must not be violated, all in the name of trial,” he said.
Ozekhome noted that if due process was not followed by the prosecution to move a case from one judicial division to other, it would be termed persecution.
“The idea of moving a case from one judicial division to another without the consent of the parties, is called ‘Forum Shopping’ and it is not prosecution again but persecution.
“It is an act of selecting a judge, dictating how the trial should go  without considering the effect on the defendant,” said Ozekhome.
He, however, said the only situation in which the prosecution can unilaterally move a case from one judicial division to other is “when a trial judge voluntarily withdraws him/herself from case.
“But, without this kind of situation, for the prosecution to move its case to other judicial division without the consent of the parties, it means the prosecution has ulterior motive. Criminal trial procedure is very clear on issue of jurisdiction. Therefore, prosecution must give reason for the move,” Ozekhome said.
Another prominent lawyer, Mr. Ebun Adegoruwa said the venue where  the alleged offence was committed is a determinant factor that cannot be overlooked. If the charge reads ‘Abuja Division,’ the trial must be conducted in Abuja. But, if it is not, the law of jurisdiction has to be strictly followed.
“It is even a settled law, considering the verdict of Supreme Court in FRN v Jame Ibori. The court ruled that former Delta State governor, Ibori could not be tried in Kaduna Division for an offence committed in Delta.
“It stated that the alleged offence was committed in Asaba, Delta State, therefore, the trial must be conducted in Asaba, based on  jurisdiction.
“Besides, if all witnesses in the case are in a particular jurisdiction, it will be out of place to take the trial out of that jurisdiction,” Adegboruwa added.
In his contribution, a constitution law expert, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and author, Sabastine Hon described ‘forum shopping as an attempt to move a trial to another jurisdiction in order to secure a favourable decision.
“Although, in a criminal case, the prosecution may, with the consent of parties, decide to move the trial to a jurisdiction where the element of crime occurred, which is permissible in law, but, where the forum shopping is aimed at securing favourable decision, it is wrong and condemnable.
“The effect is that justice is not attained in most cases because, a new shop is most likely a favourable shop and it must be discouraged,” he said. Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, lawyer, Ezechukwu Ikechuchwu said “forum shopping is an abuse of court process and is condemnable in the legal profession.
“If a court discovers that a matter was pending before another court, the latest process is thrown out because it constitutes an abuse of court process. It is condemnable because it shows an ulterior motive.
Yet, another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ahamba simply said the issue of forum shopping in criminal trial is condemnable practice in the legal profession “because parties should not be allowed to choose a court or judge to hear their cases.”
Already, Dr. Kalu’s counsel, Amobi Nzelu has petitioned acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
In the petition entitled: Re: transfer of suit No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07-Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Orji kalu & 2 Ors; Appeal for Re-consideration,’ Nzelu said it amounted to undue interference in the administration of justice.
The letter reads in part: “The information at our disposal is to the effect that your commission, after the last adjourned date and without reference to our client or his defence team, requested for the transfer of the said case to Lagos.
“At the last adjourned date, your commission, alongside the defence team, took December 6-8, 2016 for definite hearing.
“Both parties departed the court with a view to come back and commence trial at the agreed dates.
“Surprisingly and behind the back of our client and his defence team, your commission applied to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the case to be transferred to Lagos judicial division of the Federal High Court.”

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12-year-old boy kills landlady as condition to be initiated into a cult

Ethiope East Local

A 12-year-old boy, who allegedly robbed and killed his landlady at Abraka, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State, yesterday, was among those paraded for various offences by the state Police Command, yesterday.

 

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zanna Mohammed, who briefed reporters on the arrest of over 60 kidnappers, robbers, murderers, cultists and ritualists in the last three weeks, said the teenager confessed that he committed the act because a cult group told him that one of the conditions for initiation was that he must have been involved in a criminal act.

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Super Falcons striker, Asisat Oshoala, comes to Falz defence with regards to statement about glorifying fraudsters

Asisat Oshoala

Nigerian professional footballer, Asisat Oshoala, who plays as a forward in the Chinese Women’s Super league for Dalian Quanjian F.C., took to her Instagram to express deep concern about how people are now proud to be fraudsters.

 

 

In Falz’ defense, she insisted fraudsters shouldn’t be glorified.

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Zimbabwean Church leader in s*x scandal as photos naked photos and sex acts with 33 girls is exposed

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A Zimbabwean church leader, Nyasha Light Nyatsungo is enmeshed in a sex scandal and might also be facing legal action, after his ex-girlfriend flooded social media with his nude photo.
It was gathered that the Nyatsungo allegedly sent a nude picture of his Cape Town based ex–side chick, Shingi Mavenge, to his other girlfriend only identified as Beula who later broadcasted it on social media.
According to H-Metro, in an apparent fit of rage, Mavenge posted a WhatsApp chat she had with Nyatsungo’s wife identified as Nyasha Nhahumbi as well as a group chat with some of her former lover’s concubines.
According to Mavenge, she has gotten information that Nyatsungo has at least 33 girlfriends and has ditched his wife of eight years.
She adds that Nyatsungo bedded a girl who was their neighbour as well.
Mavenge said that the church leader’s wife revealed that they even consulted their local pastor in Mutare who failed in his attempts to mend Nyatsungo’s ways.
According to H-Metro, Nyatsungo, a married father of two, has denied ever circulating the picture, labelling Mavenge as a bitter woman whom he just flirted with on Facebook and nothing more.
“This Nyasha guy must be stopped in his tracks. He is going to pay for all the damage that he has done to me. He was the only one who had that leaked picture and I am shocked why he would forward it to some other girl,” fumed Mavhenge who is working on taking legal action.
 
“I started dating this guy in 2015 and never knew he was married. He lied.”  fumed Mavenge yesterday.
“That guy is full of lies and at some point, we opened a group chat with his wife and some of his girlfriends. He normally targets single mothers” added Mavenge.
H-Metro was furnished with six other cellphone numbers of his girlfriend that include Fadzai, Mutsa, Essy, Juliana, Barbra among others. Mutsa confirmed she once had a relationship with Nyatsungo have since terminated it since she discovered he was married.
Mavenge confirmed they met once in Johannesburg when she had to fly from Cape Town to meet her man sometime in April.
“That night he didn’t even have money. I had to pay the R800 for the accommodation as he had no money. He wanted to have sex with me but I flatly refused. He even wanted it without protection and I said No. he looked terrible with clothes in a plastic shopping bag. I want to write a letter to Pastor Rex who is the head of (the church) in Harare so that this guy be stopped with his tricks and lies,” added Mavenge.
When contacted over the phone in Mutare Nyatsungo confirmed he knew Mavenge but never had a relationship with her.
“I know her and we once flirted on Facebook. We never had a relationship as she is alleging. I don’t know why she is bitter. I haven’t seen the nude pictures she is talking about but I heard about it from Beula. We live in a democratic country. She can go ahead and sue me if she feels her rights have been infringed upon. All the allegations she is making are false and I don’t know her motive in trying to tarnish my image,” said Nyatsungo.
He said he was still with his wife whose phone rang without response yesterday afternoon. Despite his denials, H-metro was furnished with pictures of Nyatsungo and Mavenge, the time they met in April.

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