N47.1 Billion Fraud: Akingbola Seeks Stay Of Proceedings

ERASTUS AKINGBOLA

Former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, on Monday asked a Lagos High Court, Ikeja to stay proceedings of the  N47.1 billion theft charges against him.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Akingbola to court for allegedly stealing the money belonging to the bank.

Charged alongside Akingbola is Bayo Dada, General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited.

Bayo Dada  also filed a similar application asking for stay of proceedings  before the court presided by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Akingbola’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) informed the court that the defence had filed an application asking the court to stay further hearing of the trial.

Olanipekun said the application was filed sequel Akingbola’s appeal against a ruling delivered by Justice Lawal Akapo on May 2, 2014 where the court assumed jurisdiction of the matter.

He said the notice of appeal was already before the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

He said in addition that  the record of proceedings had already been transferred to the appellate court.

The appellate court, he said, has already fixed July 3, 2014 for hearing.
“So, it will be in the interest of justice for the lower court to wait for the outcome of the proceedings”, he submitted.

Olanipekun further told the court that  the application for stay of proceeding had been served on the prosecution and the defence was waiting to file its reply on points of law.

He, therefore asked the court for an adjournment and also to vacate the July 24 and 25 trial dates already fixed for the matter.

Counsel to coi-defendant, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), aligned himself with Olanipekun’s submission.

Osipitan urged the court to adjourn proceedings pending the hearing and determination of Akingbola’s appeal.

But EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla (SAN), objected to the request of the defendants for adjourment based on their fresh application.

Obla told the court that  he was only served the application on yesterday.
He  said that he was ready to give an oral argument in order to accelerate proceedings.

“The court cannot hear the application through the back door. The business of today is for trial to commence,” he said.

To support his submission, he referred the court to   the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 which he said prohibited the court from entertaining such applications.

In a ruling, the trial judge acceded to the request of the defence counsel and adjourned the matter till July 11, 2014 for argument.