N11.5bn fraud case: Alao-akala, oth­ers head for Supreme Court

The Punch - - NEWS - Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

Aformer gover­nor of Oyo State, Ade­bayo Alao-akala, has filed an in­ter­locu­tory ap­peal be­fore the Supreme Court, seek­ing an ad­journ­ment of the N11.5bn fraud case filed against him by the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion.

His co-de­fen­dants, Ay­oola Ag­boola and Femi Ba­balola – a mem­ber of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party in Oyo State – filed sim­i­lar ap­pli­ca­tions.

As a re­sult of the de­vel­op­ment, the trial of the de­fen­dants, which was sched­uled to com­mence on Mon­day be­fore Jus­tice Mu­niru Owolabi of an Oyo State High Court at Iya­ganku, Ibadan, was stalled.

The EFCC said the al­leged crime was com­mit­ted when Alao-akala was gover­nor of Oyo State be­tween 2007 and 2011, dur­ing which Ag­boola served as Com­mis­sioner for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Chief­taincy Mat­ters.

Ba­balola was said to be the owner of Pen­tagon En­gi­neer­ing Ser­vice, a firm al­legedly in­volved in the ex­e­cu­tion of some con­tro­ver­sial con­tracts.

Coun­sel for Alao-akala and Ba­balola, Ha­keem Afo­labi (SAN), in­formed the court that his clients had filed an in­ter­locu­tory ap­peal on the mat­ter be­fore the Supreme Court, and sought an ad­journ­ment in or­der to await the de­ci­sion of the apex court.

He said the ap­pli­ca­tions were dated April 7, 2018 and filed on April 9, 2018, adding that they were an­chored on 10 grounds.

He also prayed the court to al­low the de­fen­dants to go and “sin no more even though they are not sin­ners,” quot­ing some pro­nounce­ments of the Supreme Court.

Coun­sel for Ag­boola, Richard Ogun­wole (SAN), aligned him­self with the two ap­pli­ca­tions, say­ing the in­ter­locu­tory ap­peal in the Supreme Court would ter­mi­nate the pro­ceed­ings at the high court.

Jus­tice Owolabi ad­journed the case till June 4, 2018 for rul­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tions.

Alao-akala and the other de­fen­dants are fac­ing 11 counts bor­der­ing on con­spir­acy, award­ing con­tract with­out bud­getary pro­vi­sion, ob­tain­ing by false pre­tence, ac­quir­ing prop­erty with money de­rived from il­le­gal act and con­ceal­ing the own­er­ship of such prop­erty.

Coun­sel for the for­mer gover­nor said, “The 10 grounds in the ap­pli­ca­tions were to demon­strate that it would be an act of in­jus­tice for this court to pro­ceed when the de­fen­dants have their ap­peals, pend­ing be­fore the Supreme Court.”

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