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FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA v. ALH. ABUBAKAR MAISHANU & ORS

(2019) LPELR-46380(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 25th day of January, 2019

SC.51/2015


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA - Appellant(s)

AND

ALH. ABUBAKAR MAISHANU & ORS - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto State. The facts of the case are that the 3rd respondent, as an accused person, was arraigned before the Federal High Court, holden at Gusau, on the 16th day of December, 2011 charged with money laundering offence punishable under Section 7 (2)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2006. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. On the 24th of January, 2012, the 3rd respondent was granted bail in the sum of N5m (Five Million Naira only) and two sureties, each, in the like sum.

The 1st and 2nd respondents(at the Supreme Court) stood sureties for the 3rd respondent and each entered into a Bail Bond in the stated sum of five million naira in fulfillment of the bail conditions. Upon execution of bail recognizance by the sureties (1st and 2nd respondents), the 3rd respondent was released from custody. In the course of trial, the case came up on the 28th of March, 2013, for continuation but the 3rd respondent failed to appear in Court. Further, neither the 1st nor the 2nd of the respondents was in Court to explain the absence of the 3rd respondent. Thereafter, the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in execution of the arrest warrant granted by the Federal High Court, arrested the 3rd respondent and took him to Court on the 29th of April, 2013. The Federal High Court ordered the 3rd respondent to go back to custody. He remained in custody until judgment was delivered on the 13th day of June, 2013, whereby he was discharged and acquitted of the charge preferred against him.

Meanwhile, the prosecution made an instant oral application for the forfeiture of the bail bond. The learned trial judge directed, however, that the prosecution should better file a formal application to that effect, if desirable. The prosecution filed a Motion on Notice on 2/07/13 for forfeiture of the bail bond/recognizance and joined all the three present respondents as respondents to the application. In the course of hearing, the said application (of 28/6/13), the appellant's learned counsel applied to the learned trial judge to order for the appearance of the 3rd respondent for cross-examination. The 3rd respondent was the deponent to his own counter affidavit in the matter. The learned trial judge refused to grant the application stating that its grant would cause delay in the proceedings. The learned trial judge dismissed the application for forfeiture of bail bond/recognizance filed by the appellant. Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal against the two decisions of the Federal High Court. The Court of Appeal, in its judgment of 3rd December, 2014, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court. 

Further dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:

1. Whether the judgment of the Court of Appeal is supportable by the evidence contained in the printed record before their lordships. 

2. Having regard to the peculiar circumstances of this case, whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal were right to have relied on the Halsbury's Laws  of England (3rd edition) and the judicial authority of A. G. Federation v. Thadue Teixera De Fritas & Ors (CA/L/193/85) to dismiss the appeal. 

3. Whether the Court of Appeal correctly interpreted and rightly applied the provision of Section 107 of the Evidence Act, 2011 in the instant case.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.


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