Court of Appeal sets aside conviction of Ex- Oyo High Court Registrar

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan Division, Wednesday, 2nd of June, 2021, set aside the conviction against a former Oyo state High Court Registrar, Mrs. Omobola Mutiat Adio.

In the lead judgement delivered by Justice F.A Ojo in Appeal No: CA/IB/202C/2020, the Appellate Court said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove all the ingredients of Stealing against the Appellant and that the trial Lower Court erred to have convicted the Appellant.

Consequently, the Court held thus: That the Prosecution failed to prove the ownership of the money allegedly stolen;

That the Prosecution failed to prove that the money subject matter of the offence belonged to Guaranty Trust Bank;

That a money which is given out to a party with security is not capable of being stolen;

That the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission failed in its duty to show that the money allegedly stolen by the Appellant was fraudulently taken;

That the Confessional Statement relied upon by the lower Court was not direct, unequivocal and failed to pass the furnace of reliability as established in our case laws.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the transaction leading to the trial and conviction of the Appellant was a business transaction which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had no jurisdiction to entertain in the first place.

Recall that Mrs. Omobola Mutiat Adio was convicted by the Oyo State High Court presided over by His Lordship M. O. Olagunju on the 6th day of March 2020 in respect of a lone count charge of stealing contrary to S. 390 (9) & (11) of the Oyo State Criminal Code Law as proffered against her by EFCC.

Reacting to the judgment, Olaniyi George, Counsel for the Appellant praised the Court of Appeal for the industry exhibited and particularly thanked the Court of Appeal for restating the true position of law in respect of what a confessional statement should be within the context of criminal trial.

Sequel to unanimous decision of the 3-man panel, the conviction by the Oyo State High Court was set aside and the Appellant who is presently at the Correctional Centre Agodi was discharged and acquitted.