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Balogun escapes arraignment

Posted by By Godwin Tsa, Abuja on 2005/05/24 | Views: 430 |

Balogun escapes arraignment


Attempt by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to arraign former Inspector –General of police (IGP) Mr. Tafa Balogun, on fresh 92-count charges suffered a setback owing to legal technicalities.

Attempt by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to arraign former Inspector –General of police (IGP) Mr. Tafa Balogun, on fresh 92-count charges suffered a setback owing to legal technicalities.

The setback was caused by the failure of the commission to effect personal service on the embattled former police boss.
Consequently, Balogun who was present in court, did not enter his plea as the charges were not read to him in the first place.
The court had held that Balogun could not be arraigned because the prosecution did not comply with the provision of section 35 (a) and (b) of the 1999 constitution which entitled every person to enjoy this personal liberty.

Justice Salisu Garba, the trial judge further held that pages 1-31 of the charges sheet purportedly served on Balogun through his counsel were missing.
He, however, declined to grant both the applications challenging the jurisdiction of the court filed by defence counsel, Dr. Tunji Abayani and that filed by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs seeking the order of court to remand Balogun in prison custody.

It was Balogun’s counsel who put the clog in the wheel of the arraignment as he raised a motion on preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Dr. Abayomi who anchored his application on three grounds argued that the charges as presented before the court amounted to abuse of court process in view of the pendency of a similar matter before a federal high court.

It was also his submissions that the proof of evidence presented in support of the charges disclosed no offence against his client, adding that the courts were nothing less than a duplication and ambiguity.
He described the action of the EFCC as an attempt to persecute his client and urged the court to refuse it.

His words "The purpose of bringing an accused person to court is not for persecution but to ensure justice to the accused as well as the society. Our position is that this court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a process that abuses its authority.

"It is that application that we are seeking that it must be heard before the plea of our client is taken. Their action (EFCC) constitutes an abuse, you cannot go shopping carrying the whole universe and looking for one court or the other because you are determined on finding a court that will convict.
"The law is not established for the purpose of oppressing an accused person but for the purpose of giving justice to the society and individual."

Defence counsel argued further that jurisdiction being the heart and soul of every trial is crucial and ought to be trashed first before the plea of his client could be taken.
However, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs who urged the court to discountenance the submission of the Balogun’s counsel contended that the matter presently before the court does not constitute an abuse because, while the matter pending before the federal high court touches on money laundering, the new case is for the determination of the origin of the money.

"The questions to be determined by this court is how did Balogun acquire those money? Is it through gratification, stealing or extortion. He explained that personal service could not be effected on Balogun because he had moved out of his official residence to a place that could not be traced.
Prosecution counsel argued that under the provisions of section 187 of the criminal procedure code (CPC), Balogun ought to have been arraigned before the motion for jurisdiction would become relevant.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding