By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS – Six associates of Dr. Erastus Akingbola, former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, yesterday, stalled efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to re-arraign them before a new judge of Federal High Court, Lagos.
They accused persons include Mr. Akinkunmi Solomon Fabunmi, Financial Controller, Intercontinental Bank; Mrs. Toyin Odesile, Head, Domestic Operations; Foreign Exchange; Mrs. Oluwa Oyelade, Head, Corporate Treasury; Ayodele Thomas, General Manager, Intercontinental Capital Market Limited and Bayo Dada, General Manager, Tropics Securities Ltd and a director of the bank.
The accused persons, who were arraigned earlier this year before Justice Tijani Abubakar, were to be re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris, following the transfer of Justice Abubakar, on an amended charge of 23 counts of money laundering and related offences.
Defence counsel, objected to request by prosecution lawyer, that the accused be arraigned afresh, drawing the courtâ€™s attention to separate applications they filed, challenging the courtâ€™s jurisdiction and the competence to hear the case, still pending.
The accused persons are contending in the applications that the proof of evidence before the court did notÂ disclosed any prima facie case against them adding that the incompetence of the case has denied the court the jurisdiction to hear it.
They also want the court to dismiss the case against them. But EFCC counsel, argued that the applications were premature, citingÂ section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
The commission argued that the position of the law was that an accused person could only raise objection to a formal defect in a charge after the reading of the charge.
The court in a short ruling said it willÂ hear the applications by the defence before taking any further step in the case and adjourned to August 2 for arguments on the applications.