FG’s ORDER: Court Dismisses Theft Charge Against Lagos Trade Fair Director

A theft charge filed against an executive director, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex Management Board (LITFCMB), Bassey Eyamba and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The trial judge, Justice Kudirat Jose dismissed the charge after the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mhammed Adoke (SAN) filed a notice of discontinuance.

Bassey alongside Okafor Eunice, Francis Dajilak, Okocha Lazarus and Kolo Barnabas were arraigned before the court by the commission in 2013 on a 20- count charge of conspiracy to steal and stealing over N50 million.

At the resumed hearing of the matter last week Friday, Adoke through a letter with reference number SGF/PS/FMTI/422/T, dated March 4, 2015, asked the court to discontinue the criminal proceedings.

The notice, brought pursuant to section 172 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law No 11, Laws of Lagos state 2011 was attached with eight paragraph affidavit sworn to by the counsel to the EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko.


Police Arraign Man For Criminal Breach Of Trust

The police on Thursday arraigned a man, Solomon Samuel, in a Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ Court, Wuse, Abuja, charged with breach of trust.

Samuel, who resides at Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Maitama, Abuja, was alleged to have diverted N160,000 given to him to deposit in the bank.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Mohammed Ahmed, told the court that the matter was reported at the Maitama Police Station, Abuja, by Ms Confidence Markus of FHA, Maitama, Abuja, on Jan. 27.

He said that the accused was given N160,000 to deposit at Ecobank, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja but he neither deposited the money nor returned it to the owner.

Ahmed added that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 312 of the Penal Code.

If convicted, he said, the accused would be punished with a prison term which may extend to seven years or fine or with both.

However, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecutor prayed the court to grant him a date to open the case again.

Following the accused’s plea of not guilty, the Senior Magistrate, Mr Aliyu Shafa, admitted him to bail in the sum of N50,000 and a reasonable surety in like sum.

Shafa ordered that the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and adjourned the case until March 30 for definite hearing. (NAN)


Pop Star Rihanna Wins Legal Battle With UK’s Topshop Over Image Rights

Pop star Rihanna’s victory in a legal case against Topshop over the use of her image has been upheld by Britain’s Court of Appeal which backed an earlier judgment against the British fashion chain.

Three years ago Topshop, which is owned by billionaire Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, started selling a T-shirt with an image of Rihanna on it without her permission.

Rihanna, full name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, took Topshop to court over the matter, and in 2013 a judge ruled in her favour, saying that shoppers could be deceived into buying the T-shirt wrongly.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal dismissed Topshop‘s appeal against that decision, finding that the retailer had infringed Rihanna’s right.

The image was a photograph taken by a freelance photographer in Northern Ireland while Rihanna was filming a music video.

Topshop had a license from the photographer to use the picture but no license from Rihanna.

In Britain, celebrities do not own the rights to their image, but companies using an image without permission can face legal action.

“In this case, both the Court of Appeal and High Court were at pains to spell out that it is not an infringement just to use someone else’s image.

“But that on the facts of the case they both agreed that the circumstances surrounding the image’s use on the T-shirt meant there was a false misrepresentation which they said led to passing-off,” said intellectual property lawyer Jeremy Blum from law firm Bristows in a statement.

Passing off means deceiving a potential buyer into thinking goods or services on sale are those of another. (Reuters/NAN)


Falana Wants Governorship Election Petition To End At Court Of Appeal

Mr Femi Falana, a Senor Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in Abuja on Monday suggested that all appeals arising from governorship elections should terminate at the Court of Appeal.

Falana gave the advice while sharing his experience on election litigation process in Nigeria at a two-day international conference on

“Emerging Electoral Jurisprudence in Africa’’.

He said the suggestion was important to have only a true naked approach in presidential, National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections.

“It is only when it comes to governors for understandable reasons that the amendment was sought so that governors can have three stages.

“I think that we should go back to the process we have before whereby you have two stages of prosecuting election petitions,’’ Falana said.

On timely dispensation of election petitions within 180 days, Falana said the onus should be on the Independent National Electoral

Commission (INEC) to come to court and prove that it had conducted credible elections.

“ It shouldn’t be on the petitioners who will find it so difficult even to gather the materials within the time allowed, ‘’Falana said.
The lawyer advised Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to partner with INEC in prosecuting electoral offenders.

“Instead of monitoring election, I am suggesting to the NBA to sit down with INEC get our colleagues in different parts of the country to volunteer to prosecute electoral offenders.

“Under the Electoral Act, Section 150, the duty is imposed on INEC to prosecute electoral offenders.

“But in discussing with the leadership of INEC, I have been told that they do not have the personnel and resources to start prosecuting electoral offenders,’’ he said.

Falana also advised lawyers not to refer to any governor removed from office as former governor, saying “as lawyers we must learn to comply with the rule of law.

“If we continue like this, we are not going to get it right and we are going to continue to export to other African countries, things that are dangerous traditions,’’ he said.

Falana said that if credible elections were conducted by INEC, there would be no basis for setting up election tribunals.

“Experience in Nigeria has shown that candidates who are defeated in credible elections do not hesitate to congratulate the winners.

“Such candidates and their political parties do not commit energies and resources to election petition,’’ he said.

Another lawyer, Dr Alex Iziyon (SAN), advised INEC to have a dedicated and special fund for election petitions.

Iziyon said this was important if the commission would be able to prosecute election offenders on time.

The President of NBA, Mr Augustine Alegeh, said there was a need to ensure that minimum changes were made whenever the amendment of the Electoral Act was considered.

Alegeh said that Nigeria never had two elections using the same Act.

“So when you have adjustment in the first Electoral Act and you have authority in that regard by the time you are sitting for the next election, the Electoral Act has changed.

“Then the lawyers are confronted by the devil of cut and paste and from there one thing leads to another, your petition is turned out because you have used your experience from the past,’’ he said.

Justice Roseline Bozimo, who chaired one of the technical sessions, urged lawyers to render advice to their clients not to take every election issue to the court.

Bozimo said this would reduce the number of election petitions in court.

The conference was organised by The Electoral Institute (TEI), an organ of INEC, in conjunction with Ford Foundation. (NAN)