N47.1bn theft charge: Akingbola challenges court’s jurisdiction

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Ikeja – A former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, has challenged the jurisdiction of an Ikeja High Court to entertain the theft charge preferred against him.

Akingbola was charged alongside an associate, Bayo Dada, for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

Akingbola, in two separate preliminary notices of objection filed by his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) on Monday,

informed the court of the applications which he said ought to be taken because the matter was starting afresh.

Olanipekun argued that the issue of jurisdiction was crucial to any criminal charge and must be addressed before the plea of the defendant is taken.

He argued that the 18-count charge was an abuse of court process because a similar charge involving Akingbola and the EFCC was currently pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to him, the main witnesses listed in the proof of evidence in the Federal High Court are the same witnesses also listed in the proof of evidence before the court.

Olanipekun said the subject matter of the alleged offences relate 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 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.

In a short ruling, the judge upheld Olanipekun’s argument that the applications should be heard first before any further

step is taken on the matter.

He directed that the applications should be consolidated and consequently fixed April 2 for hearing of arguments from parties. (NAN)

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