Alleged N35.5m Fraud: Abiola's Son Wants Charge Quashed

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Deji Abiola, second son of the late Chief MKO Abiola, has asked an Ikeja High Court in Lagos to quash a charge of stealing preferred against him by the EFCC. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abiola was on June 30 arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo on a one-count charge of stealing N35.5 million belonging to a Lagos printer, Mr. Jide Jose. The EFCC alleged that the son of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election collected the money from the plaintiff under the pretext of helping him to import printing machines from Switzerland.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the defence counsel, Mr. P.O. Jimoh-Lasisi (SAN), told the court that the defence had in a September 13 application asked the court to quash the charge against Abiola and discharge him accordingly.

Jimoh-Lasisi argued that the EFCC had no right to prosecute the accused because the charge of stealing brought under Section 390 (8) (b) and (9) of the Criminal Code Law, Cap.C17, Vol. 2, Laws of Lagos State 2003, was a state offence.

He said that the charge was “incomplete and incurably bad,” adding that the proof of evidence filed in support of the information did not disclose any offence for which the accused could be tried.

“The information is frivolous, vexatious and aimed at harassing and intimidating the accused and constitutes an abuse of court process,” the defence lawyer stated in the application.

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He further argued that the court therefore had no jurisdiction to try Abiola by virtue of the charges preferred against him.

Jimoh-Lasisi also asked the court to grant Abiola, who is already on bail, permission to travel abroad for medical reasons before the next adjournment.

EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Omeiza Adebola, admitted that the prosecution has been served the application and asked for a short adjournment date to file its reply.

The judge adjourned the matter to November 10.