By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday adjourned till tomorrow, for hearing in the bail application by sacked Group Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr Erastus Akingbola, who was arraigned recently by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 22-count charge of fraud, granting reckless credit facility, abuse of office and mismanagement of depositorsâ€™ funds.
Trial judge in the matter, Justice Mohammed Idris, said yesterday in a short ruling, that in as much as he appreciated the fact that the liberty of the accused was at stake, he would want to give all parties the opportunity to present all the facts, so that the court will do justice to the case accordingly.
â€œI hereby adjourn this matter till Wednesday, August 25, 2010 for definite hearing of the bail application,â€ the court said.
At the resumed hearing in the matter, counsel to Akingbola, told the court that he had been served counter affidavit with a lot of documents and averments by the EFCC, weekend, adding that the defence was at the process of filing its response and want the courtâ€™s indulgence to stand down the matter.
But counsel to the EFCC, informed the court that it was in the interest of justice, that the prosecution team, be allowed some time to look at what is to be replied by the defence team, praying for the adjournment of the matter to another day during the week.
But Akingbolaâ€™s counsel objected, arguing that the EFCC wants to technically keep the accused in its custody.
Akingbola according to the charge preferred against him, was said to have between November 2007 and July 2008, utilised the money for fictitious transactions in the shares of the bank for the purpose of inflating the market price of the bankâ€™s shares on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.
He was further accused of using N179.385billion for the purchase of the bankâ€™s shares, an act which the commission said amounted to deceiving the public by creating impression of the actual share capital of the bank.
Akingbola was also accused of approving a credit facility in the sum of N8b to KOK Holding Limited, Cinca Nigeria Limited and Harmony Trust and Investment Limited with no security, an action contrary to section 15(1)(a)(ii) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Bankâ€™s Act, Cap F2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 16(1)(a) of the same Act.
Akingbola is also being accused of failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the balance sheet and the profit and loss account of the bank, gave true and fair view of the state of affairs of the bank with regard to a credit facility in the sum of N8b granted to Soo-kok Holding Limited, Harmony Trust and Investment Limited, Tofa General Enterprises, Cinca Nigeria Limited and Stanzuz Investment Limited, which was strongly classified as an off balance sheet items and in respect of which no loan account was created in the name of the companies at draw down and committed an offence contrary to section 28(3) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act, Cap B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.