By Bolanle Olabimtan
As Finance Minister, Adeosun oversaw the operation of some of the tax policy reforms during Buhari’s first term.
The year 2021 was slow for the judiciary with most of its activities crippled by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike which lasted about two months.
Nevertheless, the court made several verdicts some of which made the rounds, sparking conversations in the media and among Nigerians.
Here are some of the most talked-about court verdicts of the year.
KEMI ADEOSUN’S NYSC SAGA
On July 7, a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that Kemi Adeosun, former minister of finance, had no obligation to produce a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate to enable her to hold public office in Nigeria.
Adeosun resigned as minister in 2018 over the allegation of a forged NYSC certificate she presented as part of her credentials.
But Taiwo Taiwo, the judge, held that the former minister does not require an NYSC certificate to hold public office because she was not a citizen of Nigeria in 1989 when she graduated from the University of East London, UK; thus, not eligible to participate in the scheme.
The court was however silent on the allegation that she forged the certificate.
CBN VS FINTECH COMPANIES
With the rise in the use of crypto currencies and other digital platforms for electronic banking, Nigerians were thrown into panic when a federal high court in Abuja, On August 17, granted an ex parte order freezing the accounts of six popular fintech companies for 180 days.
The affected companies include Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses, and Trove Technologies Limited.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was investigating “illegal foreign exchange transactions” by the fintech companies, adding that their “illegal” activities have continually undermined efforts “to maintain a stable foreign exchange regime”.
ORJI KALU VS EFCC
In a judgment delivered on September 29, Inyang Ekwo, an Abuja federal high court judge, prohibited the federal government or any of its agencies from retrying Orji Kalu, former governor of Abia state, on allegations of money laundering.
Kalu and Ude Udeogu, former director of finance and accounts with the Abia state government, had bagged 12 years and 10 years imprisonment following their trial on 39 counts of fraud involving N7.1 billion at a federal high court in Lagos.
However, the supreme court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial following an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.
But Kalu asked an Abuja federal high court to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from retrying him.
One would have thought that Kalu’s application was frivolous having enjoyed the benefit of the appeal filed by his co-defendant.
However, the court in its wisdom held that the supreme court in its judgment did not specifically order that Kalu should be retried.
“He cannot be retried safe with an order of the supreme court,” the judge held.
The EFCC has since appealed the decision of the high court.
EFCC VS FAROUK LAWAN
After an eight-year trial that was rife with controversies, Farouk Lawan, former chairman of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy, was convicted in a $3 million bribe case.
He was accused of demanding $3 million from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited (Otedola’s company) from the list of oil companies allegedly involved in the subsidy fraud.
On June 22, Angela Otaluka, the judge, found Lawan guilty on a three-count charge of bribery and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
RIVERS STATE VS FIRS
Stephen Pam, judge of a federal high court in Port Harcourt, on August 9, issued an order restraining the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from collecting value-added tax (VAT) and personal income tax (PIT) in Rivers state.
The judge held that there is no constitutional basis for FIRS to demand and collect VAT, withholding tax, education tax and technology levy in Rivers state or any other state of the federation.
The judgment of the high court led to a plethora of cases instituted by the federal government and some states seeking to enforce the judgment.
IGBOHO VS DSS
Sunday Adeyemo better known as Sunday Igboho sued the attorney-general of the federation, the DSS, and the director of the DSS in Oyo state, demanding compensation over the raid on his Ibadan home on July 1.
Two persons were said to have been killed, while 12 others were arrested following the raid.
Giving judgment in the suit on September 17, Ladiran Akintola, an Oyo state high court judge, awarded N20 billion as damages against the federal government.
PDP VS SECONDUS
The crisis between the Peoples Democratic Party and Uche Secondus, its former chairman, led to a multiplicity of suits before different courts.
On August 23, Okogbule Gbasam, judge of a Rivers state high court, granted an ex parte motion marked PHC/2183/CS/2021, restraining Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
On August 26, another high court in Kebbi state ordered that Secondus be returned as national chairman.
Less than 48 hours later, another high court in Cross River state granted an interim order restraining Secondus from resuming office.
Following these conflicting court rulings, all three judges were queried by the National Judicial Council and barred from promotion between two and five years.
*Olabimtan is an Author with Thecable.com