30th May, 2012
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja Wednesday ruled that the embattled former Managing Director of defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, has a case to answer in the N47.1 billion theft charge instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Habeeb Abiru handed down the verdict, insisting that a prima facie evidence has been established by EFCC against Akingbola and others.
He consequently ordered the accused to open their defence and prove their innocence.
The former bank chief, who is facing allegations of stealing about N47 billion belonging to the defunct Intercontinental Bank, is standing trial alongside his associate, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited, Bayo Dada.
The court had adjourned the matter till today for the accused persons to open their defence, but when the case was called, the defence counsel informed the court that his client would not be opening their defence, as they had instead, filed an application of no-case-submission which he urged the court to hear first.
This move was strongly opposed by the counsel to the EFCC, Emmanuel Ukala who argued that it was too late in the day for the accused persons to file an application of no-case-submission, having earlier given an impression that they were ready to open their defence.
He asked the court to order the accused persons to open their defence, stressing that the application was “a ploy to delay the trial and determination of the case”.
Justice Abiru, in a short ruling, allowed the application to be moved, but complained that he had to cancel two dates earlier fixed last week for the accused to open their defence.
In his ruling today, Justice Abiru dismissed the no case submission and asked Akingbola to open his defence.
As the time of filling this report, the first defence witness was still giving her evidence.