N47.1b ‘theft’: Akingbola asks court to stay proceedings

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Jun 23rd, 2014

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

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Akingbola with alleged stealing of the bank’s money.

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

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

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

Olanipekun said the application followed Akingbola’s appeal against a ruling delivered by Justice Lawal-Akapo on May 2, where the court assumed jurisdiction on the matter.

The lawyer said the notice of appeal was already before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal.

He said the record of proceedings had been transferred to the appellate court.

The Appeal Court, Olanipekun said, had fixed July 3 for hearing.

“So, it will be in the interest of justice for the lower court to wait for the outcome of the proceedings,” he said.

The lawyer also said the application for a stay of proceedings had been served on the prosecution, adding that the defence was waiting to file its reply on points of law.

Olanipekun requested for an adjournment and to vacate the July 24 and 25 trial dates already fixed for the matter.

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

He 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 an adjournment, based on their fresh application.

Obla said he was just served the application yesterday.

The lawyer said 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 the trial to commence,” he said.

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

The trial judge granted the request of the defence counsel and adjourned the matter till July 11 for argument.

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