Lagos – An Ikeja High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed June 13 for ruling in the bail application filed by the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola.
Justice Habeeb Abiru fixed the date after hearing arguments from the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and lawyers to the accused.
The EFCC had asked the court to dismiss the bail application filed by Akingbola, who is standing trial alongside an associate, Bayo Dada.
They face a 22-count charge bothering on conspiracy to commit felony and stealing.
During their arraignment on May 31, the EFCC said Akingbola conspired with his wife, Anthonia (now at large) and Dada to steal over N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.
During Monday’s proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla, opposed the bail applications dated May 31, 2011 which were filed by the counsel to the accused persons, Mr Deji Sasegbon.
Obla told the court that Mrs Akingbola, one of the accused persons, had disappeared to an unknown place, prompting the prosecution to strike out her name from the information.
He argued that Akingbola himself reluctantly returned to Nigeria after discovering that the EFCC had made arrangements with the British Government for his extradition.
Obla said: “the charges the accused persons are facing before this court are very different from what they are facing at the Federal High Court.
“The first count is very obvious, stealing of 8.5 million Pounds Sterling. This attracts a severe punishment of up to 20 years imprisonment before this court.
“Their alleged offences at the Federal High Court attract only between two to five years which makes them completely different’’.
He further argued that the accused persons would jump bail if it was granted and asked the court to strike out their applications.
Earlier, while arguing the motion, Sasegbon urged the court to grant the accused persons bail pending the hearing and determination of the information brought against them.
He argued that his clients were facing similar charges before Justice Charles Achibong of a Federal High Court in Lagos, who had earlier granted them bail.
“They have been excellent at abiding with the conditions of bail without breaching a single dime of it.
“The applicants did not engage in disruptive or dangerous behaviour and I am certain that they will show up for interrogation or any necessary court appearances,’’ Sasegbon said.
According to him, the alleged offences brought against the accused persons were bailable and there is nothing on the information that warrants that they should be denied bail.
He urged the court to be lenient by granting them bail on the existing conditions given to them by the Federal High Court. (NAN)