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Promoting Good Governance.

N47. 1 Billion Fraud: Court Dismiss Application To Quash Akingbola Trial

An Ikeja High Court on Monday dismissed an application filed by a former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, ErastusAkingbola, seeking to quash a N47.1 billion theft charge against him.

 

Akingbola is being prosecuted alongside Bayo Dada, the general manager of Tropics Securities Ltd.

 

The two men had been charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly stealing the N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.

 

Counsel to Akingbola, Wole Olanipekun, had applied for the case against his client to be quashed, arguing that the EFCC had no power to initiate criminal proceedings at the state high court.

 

He also said that the proof of evidence had not linked Akingbola to any of the charges preferred against him.

 

EFCC counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, however, opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it.

 

Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, in a ruling on the application on Monday held that the EFCC, as a government agency, was qualified to institute criminal proceedings under Section 211 of the 1999 Constitution.

 

He said that the Court of Appeal had settled the issue in its ruling on an appeal Akingbola had previously filed against the ruling of the former trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru.

 

The judge said he could, therefore, not be swayed by another ruling on a similar issue delivered by Justice Babajide Candide-Johnson of a Lagos High Court in Igbosere.

 

Onigbanjo said: “There is no decision on this issue yet by the Supreme Court; so, the Court of Appeal’s decision takes precedence over the decision of the lower court.

 

“I am bound to respect the Court of Appeal’s decision, irrespective of my personal conviction,” he added.

 

The judge further held that a prima facie case had been established against Akingbola in the proof of evidence attached to the information.

 

He said Akingbola, in his statements to the EFCC, never denied knowledge of various transactions relating to the sums of money allegedly stolen during his tenure at the bank.

 

The matter was adjourned till September 19.

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