Ibadan – The case involving an ex-Oyo State Head of Service, Alhaja Kudirat Adeleke, and 11 others, over alleged N5.6 billion fraud was stalled on Friday at the Oyo State High Court.
The case was stalled following the claim by counsel to the EFCC, Mr Gbolahan Latona, that he had not been served with the motion for stay of proceeding by the counsel to the defendants.
Latona said that it had become habitual for the defence counsel to be serving him with processes in the court, adding that this was not the normal procedure.
He said processes should not be served on him personally, but should be addressed to the EFCC’s office in Lagos.
The counsel to Adeleke, Richard Ogunwole (SAN), had told the court that a motion of stay of proceeding had been filed at the Court of Appeal and a certified true copy was before the court.
He claimed that Latona refused to collect the application of stay of proceeding served on him on Friday morning in the court premises, adding that he could not be going to EFCC’s Lagos office to serve every court process.
Justice Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf, however, said that she could not force counsel to collect any application and advised both parties to settle the matter on the mode of service amicably.
Bolaji-Yusuf adjourned the case to March 21 for hearing.
It would be recalled that the defence counsel had told the court that an appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the court for refusing bail to the defendants.
Ogunwole said that the appeal was not on the issue of bail alone but also on the issue of jurisdiction of the court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adeleke and others were arraigned over a N5.6 billion fraud at the Local Government Pension Board.
NAN also reports that other defendants charged are Muili Aderemi, Iyabo Giwa, Adesina Ayoade and Banji Oguntayo.
The rest are Adebiyi Musendiq, Muili Adedamola, Johnson Adeduntan, Bosede Johnson, Kareem Rasheed, Adebayo Olujimi and Kehinde Adewale.
The defendants were alleged to have defrauded the board to the tune of N5.6 billion belonging to the state’s pensioners.
It would be recalled that Justice Bolaji-Yusuf had refused bail to the defendants, but promised to give the case accelerated hearing.
The prosecutor had told the court that the defendants were arraigned on a 213-count charge which included conspiracy, stealing, fraud and forgery.
He said that the defendants conspired to obtain N5.6 billion from three banks– FCMB, Stanbic IBTC and Zenith–by false representation using the names of pensioners.
The prosecutor said that the incident happened between September 2010 and March 2011.
He said the offences contravened sections 516, 390 (9) and 417 of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges and the judge ordered that they should be remanded at the Agodi prison. (NAN)