N47bn Theft: Akingbola Challenges Court Jurisdiction

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The gavel of justice

Henry Ojelu

Former Managing Director of  Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr Erastus Akingbola, today challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court to entertain the N47.1 billion theft charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Akingbola filed the objection before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo through his counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

His co-defendant, Bayo Dada, also filed a similar application before the court.

At the resumption of proceedings Monday, Olanipekun informed the court about the applications, adding that they have been served on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to him, since the matter is starting de novo (afresh), it is better for the applications to be taken before any further development.

Among the grounds proffered by Olanipekun for challenging the court’s jurisdiction is that there is a similar charge involving Akingbola and the EFCC which is currently pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

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He also argued that the main witnesses listed in the proof of evidence at the Federal High Court are the same witnesses also listed in the proof of evidence before this court.

According to him, the subject matter of the alleged offences relates to banking operations and operations of capital issues which fell under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.

Responding, the EFCC counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), said the applications were premature and should be held in abeyance by the court.

Ukala further argued that they offend Section 262 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 which provides for speedy dispensation of criminal matters.

The judge, in his ruling, opted for hearing of the applications before further development on the matter.

Lawal-Akapo, however, directed that the applications should be consolidated and fixed 2 April, 2014 for hearing of arguments by parties.

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