Court suspends judgment in fresh extradition suit filed by Kashamu

Court suspends judgment in fresh extradition suit filed by Kashamu

- A suit seeking to prevent the federal government from extraditing Senator Buruji Kashamu has been suspended by the court

- The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja suspended the verdict following a fresh appeal by the plaintiff to the court to allow him re-open his case afresh

- The court also fixed Friday, July 5, for hearing of the motion before delivering judgment in the suit

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Tuesday, suspended judgment in a fresh suit filed by a former senator, Buruji Kashamu, seeking to stop the Federal Government from extraditing him to the U.S.

This is to stop the U.S from trying him for an alleged hard drug offence.

The Judge suspended the verdict following a fresh appeal by the plaintiff to the court to allow him re-open his case afresh.

NAN reports that the court adjourned judgment twice in the suit due to heavy load work of the court.

However, the judgment was supposed to be delivered on Monday, July 1, a new counsel to Kashamu, Raphael Oluyede, announced that he had filed a motion praying the court to halt delivery of judgment to allow him re-argue his case.

He said that his motion dated June 27, had been served on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who are the two respondents in the suit.

However, the AGF counsel Idris Ndahi, denied receiving the motion.

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Justice Abang consequently fixed Friday, July 5, for hearing of the motion before delivering judgment in the suit.

Kashamu had instituted three new suits against the AGF and NDLEA praying that the two respondents be prohibited by the court from arresting, detaining and extraditing him to America.

In the instant suit filed by his counsel Mr John Odubela, SAN, Kashamu argued that his fundamental right to freedom of liberty will be breached with the plan to transport him to U.S unless AGF and NDLEA are restrained from doing so.

He claimed in his originating summon that two staff of the NDLEA had alerted him of the moves by the two respondents to give effect to the extradition request of the American government against him.

However, the AGF and NDLEA in their separate responses prayed the court to dismiss the suit on various grounds.

Among others, the AGF informed the court that the senator had been abusing court process through filing of multiple suits on the same subject matter.

Counsel to AGF Mr Gazali Tijani, in his argument had told Justice Abang that the same plaintiff had in 2013, and 2014, instituted two different cases on the same issue against the Federal Government.

He added that judgments in the two suits were delivered in 2015, by a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Tijani, however, said that the two judgments of the High Court delivered in 2015, were on May 4, 2018, voided and set aside by the Court of Appeal, Lagos division.

The counsel informed the Judge that the senator had since approached the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the fresh suit on the ground that it constituted a gross abuse of court process and that it is lacking in merit because it did not disclose any cost of action.

But the NDLEA in its opposition to the fresh suit told the court that Kashamu is wanted in the U.S because of the 6.6kg of heroin he allegedly imported into the country in 1994.

The anti-drug agency claimed that the Senator who represented Ogun east senatorial district in the 8th Assembly, allegedly imported the hard drug to the U.S.

This, it said, was carried out in his capacity as the head of a large drug smuggling syndicate operating in Africa, Asia, Europe and America at the period.

In a fresh 54-paragraph counter affidavit filed at the court to oppose the innocence claim of the Senator, the NDLEA averred that he was indicted for hard drug offence but escaped.

While his alleged co-offenders were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in America.

The counter affidavit is in respect of the fresh suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/536/2018 instituted by Kashamu and dated October 16 , 2018.

The affidavit deposed to by one Shehu Mohammed, a litigation officer with NDLEA and sighted in Court explained that following Kashamu’s escape, the U.S government in 2015 dispatched to the Nigerian government a request for his extradition.

This, U.S government said, should be done through diplomatic channel.

NDLEA insisted that there is a valid and subsisting indictment against him in the U.S District of Illinois, Eastern Division supported also with valid of arrest for the serving senator.

The affidavit read in part “The applicant Kashamu is alleged to have violated Narcotic Laws of the U.S by conspiring to import heroin into the country.

Heroin is a schedule 1 Narcotic controlled substance under the laws of the USA.

“There is valid and subsisting indictment against the Applicant, Kashamu in the United States’ District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

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“On March 16, 1994, the Applicant was charged in the United States of America Vs. Buruji Kashamu, among others No. 94 CR 172 following the seizure of 6.6 Kilograms of heroin alleged to emanate from him.

“The applicant Kashamu, was further charged with a second superseding indictment filed on May 21, 1998, for conspiracy to import heroin into the U.S following repeated seizures of heroin similarly alleged to be emanating from him.

“A copy of the second superseding indictment and Arrest warrant for the fugitive issued by the United States District Court, northern district of Illinois is contained in exhibit NDLEA 1.

“That contrary to his depositions, the applicant has never been exonerated of any drug or related offence by any court of Nigeria, the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK).

“That the paragraphs of the applicant’s affidavit that talk of exoneration of crime/charges of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs are false.

“That contrary to his depositions, the decision of the British Courts did not exonerate the applicant of any of the charges for drugs and related offences pending in the U.S.

“That the two judgments of the British Courts were decided on technicalities based on the laws of the UK and did not go into the merits of the extradition charges.

“Relating to conspiracy and illicit traffic in narcotic drugs in the U.S.

“That the judgment of the High Court of Justice (Queens Bench Division) in suit CO/2141/2000 delivered on Oct. 6 2000, was decided on an application for the exercise of the court’s prerogative writ.

“To quash the committal order of the Metropolitan Magistrate on the grounds of suppression of vital facts in the Examination Request of the U.S.

“That the decision of the Bow Street Magistrate Court that carried out a further inquisition into the Extradition Request of the U.S merely discharged the applicant on the impugned credibility of the identification witnesses.

“That contrary to his depositions, the two magistrates of both the Metropolitan and Bow Street found as of fact that extraditable offences had been committed to justify the extradition of the applicant.

“That the claims of the applicant are unsubstantiated and should be dismissed with substantial cost.

However, NDLEA urged the Court to dismiss the fresh suit on the ground that it constituted gross abuse of court process with falsification of facts in the judgments by London and American Courts.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a court sitting in Lagos had awarded N50,000 each in favour of the State Security Service (DSS) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in a suit that was brought before it by Senator Kashamu.

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Kashamu in the suit had asked the court to stop his extradition to the United State to stand trial for drug charges.

In the matter tagged FHC/L/CS/930/2018, the senator dragged the inspector general of police, commissioner of police, Lagos Police command, SSS, NDLEA, and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as respondent.

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Source: Legit.ng

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