‘ Why he remains in custody’
Ahead of tomorrow’s planned arraignment of former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Justice Charles Archibong of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered his immediate release from the commission’s custody.
The judge who gave the order while ruling on an ex_parte application instituted by the embattled former bank chief also barred the commission from arraigning him before any court pending the determination of a motion for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
The court further directed that the order should operate as a stay of all actions by the EFCC pending the determination of the said motion. The judge has adjourned further hearing in the case to May 18. But the EFCC, at the weekend, explained that the detention of the bank chief has not violated any court order.
Akingbola, who is already facing corruption and money laundry charges before Archibong at the Federal High Court, Lagos, was re_arrested by the EFCC two weeks ago alongside his wife for allegedly stealing about N50 billion from Intercontinental Bank Plc.
The former bank Executive, his wife and one Bayo Dada, it was gathered are now to be tried at the Lagos High Court, rather than the Federal High Court, where he were first arraigned last year.
The commission, in a statement yesterday, said, “Our attention has been drawn to some misleading information being circulated by the image handlers of Mr Akingbola to create the impression that the EFCC is holding on to the accused person in contravention of an order by Justice Achibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“The order of Justice Achibong of the Federal High Court which they have been circulating to stop Akingbola’s arraignment and ensure his release cannot hold because the order was issued after the action it was meant to stop, that is arraignment, had already taken place at a Lagos high court on May 5th. Again, Justice Achibong’s order was unclear as to which court it was addressed to; magistrate court, Lagos State High Court or Federal High Court? In all, it is clear that Justice Achibong does not have the power to try stealing which is a criminal code matter, now before a Lagos High Court that has the competent jurisdiction and as such cannot issue an order that will be binding on matter outside its jurisdiction.”