Justice Akintunde Boade of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan has adjourned to April 26 for hearing of the applications filed by the prosecuting counsel, Godwin Obla for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and counsel to the accused persons, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN. The accused persons are Christopher Alao-Akala, former governor of Oyo State; Hosea Ayoola Agboola, a serving senator and Olufemi Babalola, a business man. They were arraigned for alleged conspiracy to steal and award contracts without budget provision.
At the resumed hearing on Monday February 20, 2012, Counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla said he has filed a preliminary objection to the application by the accused persons seeking to quash the charges against them. He urged the court to take notices of his preliminary objection.
Lateef Fagbemi, who led four other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and a horde of lawyers in defence of the accused persons, had filed a motion on notice dated December 16, 2011 in which he sought to quash the charges preferred against the accused persons on the grounds that charges do not disclose any offence known to law.
However, in part of his written address in support of his notice of preliminary objection Obla noted that “the law is trite that by virtue of section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Act Laws of the Federation 2004 an objection to a charge like the instant 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons motion on notice, shall be taken immediately after the charge is read over to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons and not later.” He also stated that the proper time or stage when the accused persons ought to have filed the motion on notice was when the charge was read to the accused persons.
Although Fagbemi had requested for 21 days to respond to the preliminary objection stating that each of the accused person would need about 7 days to file his response. He said he was going to respond to each of the accused person’s application one by one.
Obla objected to the request stating that the application was akin to a bail application and so the court ought to hear it expeditiously. He also told the court that the accused persons were well represented by senior advocates and many other lawyers so they were capable of responding within 7 days.
Justice Baade then adjourned proceedings to April 26 for hearing of the applications.
Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala and two other accused persons, Hosea Ayoola Agboola, a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former commissioner of local government and chieftaincy matters in Oyo State and Olufemi Ademola Babalola, a contractor were first arraigned before Justice M. Abbas but were re-arraigned before Justice Boade after Justice Abbas voluntarily withdrew from the case
Justice Boade later admitted the three accused persons to bail with the same bail terms under Justice Abbas.
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“We Will Deliver On Our Mandate”- Lamorde
The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, on Monday, February 20th, 2012 assured Nigerians and the international community of the preparedness of the Commission to deliver on its assigned mandate of combating economic and financial crimes and other acts of corruption.
Lamorde said this while receiving the British High Commissioner to Nigeria , Mr. Andrew Lloyd who paid him a courtesy visit at the corporate headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja .
The EFCC Chairman expressed appreciation to the envoy for being the first to pay him a courtesy visit since his confirmation by the Senate last week and expressed his commitment to the realization of the EFCC’s mandate.
“We are aware of the expectations of Nigerians and the international community. We shall not betray the confidence. We shall deliver on our mandate and justify the confidence reposed on us”, he promised. He appreciated the support which the Commission has, over the years, received from British agencies such as the Department for International Development, DFID, the Metropolitan Police and the Serious Organized Crime Agency, SOCA.
In response, Lloyd promised greater support for the EFCC. “We would be looking to support in whatever way we can, if the EFCC succeeds, the international community and international investors win”, he said.
He also commended the National Assembly for making Lamorde’s appointment a reality. “It is a significant appointment because what you represent is a clear sense of direction and progress for the Commission”.
Others who accompanied Lloyd on the visit are Julius Court , Team Leader, on Governance, DFID and Hooman Nouruzi, Political and Press Secretary.
EFCC ARRAIGNS TWO FRAUDSTERS OVER CURRENCY COUNTERFEITNG
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned two fraudsters before Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Gombe on charges of counterfeiting and altering of the American dollar as well as obtaining money under false pretences. The suspects: Sanusi Nalado and Sani Ahmed were arraigned on a three and two count charges respectively.
Nalado’s road to court began in January 2010, when he approached one Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed Toungo, a Gombe-based retired civil servant and convinced him into being an Islamic propagator with support from a Saudi Arabian Propagation Agency which Nalado claimed he had strong contacts with.
Toungo was told the agency would fund all his Da’awah projects, including building of mosques, schools, vehicles, books, etc. He was asked to pay some money for processing of registration documents and logistics into a Unity Bank account number in Kaduna bearing Sanusi Nalado’s name. From time to time, Nalado kept coming back and asking for money to meet one obligation or the other, all in the guise of facilitating the receipt of the expected funds from Saudi Arabia .
Calls were also made to assuage and reassure Toungo that his application was receiving attention and that monies to start the projects would soon be sent to him in foreign currency. After such calls, Nalado would make financial demands from him which he would oblige. The money obtained from Toungo by Nalado severally totalled N7, 317,000 (seven million three hundred and seventeen naira).
In a move to assuage the doubts of his victim, later in January 2011, Salado brought a sealed box to Toungo’s house which he claimed contained $2million as the first instalment from the Saudi agency. Nalado told him not to open it, until prayers and purification were made on the box, while still asking Toungo to bring more money for purification.
Toungo, at this juncture, had to report to the EFCC Gombe zonal office. Nalado was arrested in Abuja after over a year of being on his trail. Upon investigation, the sealed box was brought to the EFCC office and opened in the presence of both parties. The box was discovered to contain 2,353 pieces of Bank of America’s $100 notes resembling the American legal tender. Information sought from Unity Bank confirmed Nalado as the owner and operator of the account Toungo had been lodging money in.
When the charge was read to the accused person, he pleaded not guilty. EFCC counsel, Abubakar Aliyu then pleaded for a date to call his witnesses. Justice Quadri adjourned the case to March 15th 2012 for hearing while asking the accused person to be remanded in prison custody.
Sani Ahmed was also remanded in prison custody by Justice Quadri for being in possession of fake N1000 notes. He was apprehended in a business centre in Gombe metropolis, where he was found to be using a computer printer to scan the N1000 notes which he would print out with the aid of a computer printer and then cut and trim to size. When caught, Ahmed claimed he was experimenting with it for schooling purposes but he was later found not to be a student as he earlier claimed.
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