Godwin Tsa, Abuja
SLOK Nigeria Limited has approached the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court ordering its winding up and forfeiture of its assets to the Federal Government.
The company, dissatisfied with the judgment of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court delivered by Justice MB Idris, in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007-FRN V. Orji Kalu and 2 others, filed a notice of appeal pursuant to order 7 rule 2 in urging the appellate court to set aside the decision of the trial court and to pronounce it discharged and acquitted.
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In the notice of appeal, which is predicated on 30 grounds, the appellant is challenging the entire decision of the lower court, positing that the trial judge erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice in arriving at his conclusion.
Specifically, the appellant through its counsel, KC Nwufo, SAN, contended that the judgment of the trial court finding the appellant guilty on counts 12 to 39 of the charge, and ordering its winding up and forfeiture of its assets to the Federal Government is unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence adduced before the court.
It further contended that the trial judge erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain the charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 as a high court judge after his elevation and swearing-in as a justice of the Court of Appeal, and that this occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice.
It is the contention of the appellant that there was no evidence before the court that the bank paid any money from Government House, Umuahia account into the appellant’s account, adding that PW19 on May 11, 2018 specifically stated under cross-examination that the staff of the Inland Bank did not lodge any money into the appellant’s account.
In addition, the company averred that its statement of account did not show that any funds from the state Government House, Umuahia was paid into its account.
The appellant further argued that the trial judge erred in law when he held thus: “In this case, the prosecution has tendered the statement of account which shows that money was lodged into the 3rd defendant’s account by Inland Bank. Besides, the question the 3rd defendant and the 1st defendant should be answering is not about the slips that show lodgment but the source of the money that Inland Bank was paying into its account.”
The appellant further contended that the trial judge erred in law when he held thus: “From the totality of evidence led by the prosecution and by considering the ingredients of the offences above, it is clear that the 1st defendant did procure the 3rd defendant to retain the proceed of crime and the 3rd defendant must have known or suspected that the money was gotten from criminal conducts, the 1st and 3rd defendants are therefore guilty of counts 1 and 12 respectively.”
On the above findings, the appellant argued that there is no evidence that the 1st defendant did procure the appellant to retain any proceeds of crime, as there is also no evidence that the appellant must have known or suspected that any money in her account was gotten from any alleged criminal conduct.
SLOK Nigeria further argued that there is no evidence placed before the court that the defendants, including the appellant, collaborated to conceal the origin of funds which were allegedly illegally withdrawn from the account of the Government House, Umuahia with UBA Plc.
It submitted that the appellant is not guilty of allegedly collaborating in concealing the genuine origin of the sum of N200,000,000.00, said to have been illegally withdrawn from the account of the Government House, Umuahia with UBA Plc.