29 Feb 2012

EFCC vs Akingbola Latest: Court Dismisses Erastus Akingbola's Application

Former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now acquired by Access Bank), Dr. Erastus Akingbola, yesterday, failed in his bid to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to provide him with the original of some documents needed for his defence in his ongoing corruption case.

Akingbola, who is standing trial alongside one of his associates, Mr. Bayo Dada, over alleged stealing of N47.1 billion brought against them by the EFCC had claimed, through his lawyer, Chief Felix Fagboungbe, SAN, that unless they were provided with original of the documents in the office of Tropics Finance Limited (where Akingbola reportedly have interest), he would not be able to prosecute his defence.


However, after his argument, the trial Judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, dismissed the application on the ground that it was frivolous, saying: “It failed in its entirety.”

Arguing his application, Fagbohungbe told the court that denying his client the opportunity would mean denying him a right to fair hearing, meaning it would be impossible to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses brought to court. Fagbohungbe said the EFCC’s offer to certify copies of the documents was a breach of the accused person’s constitutional rights.

In his response, the EFCC counsel, Mr. E.C Ukala, SAN, said the application was “unreasonable,” noting that prosecution had already offered them the copies of the documents. According to him, “their demand to remove the original is impossible and unreasonable. It will make it impossible for other persons to make use of it in future.
The defence has no right to remove or demand for the original. It is only a ploy to waste the time of the court and delay cross examination as planned today.”

Ukala said the EFCC refused to release the original copies of the documents to the accused persons because the said documents belonged to the company and not to any individual.
Further hearing in the case continues today.

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