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Appeal Court Frees Akingbola Of N47.5b Theft Charge

Published on December 31, 2014 by   ·   17 Comments

Henry Ojelu

Erastus Akingbola

Erastus Akingbola

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, western Nigeria, has quashed the 22-count charge brought against the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had alleged that Akingbola stole N47.5 billion belonging to the bank.

Ruling on Akingbola’s application on jurisdiction, the court presided over by Justice Amina Augie held that the High Court of Lagos State presided over by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed against him by the commission.

Justice Augie said it amounted to miscarriage of justice for the lower court to have dismissed Akingbola’s application challenging its jurisdiction on the matter.

“The appeal is meritorious and allowed,” she declared.

“I am convinced that the lower court refused to align itself with the decision of this court in Nwosu’s case,” she further held.

Akingbola and his co-defendant, Bayo Dada, had filed two separate applications challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the 22-count charge filed against them by the EFCC.

But, the lower court, in its ruling on 2 May, 2014 dismissed their applications.

Justice Lawal-Akapo had then held that the charges preferred against the defendants were within its competence and jurisdiction to determine.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the high court, Akingbola and Dada approached the Appeal Court, praying that the trial court’s decision be set aside.

Delievering the judgement, Justice Augie declared that the lower court fell into serious error by not abiding by the decision on Nwosu’s case adding, “it is most unfair and is an injustice”.

According to her, the lower court has no option than to follow the decision of the higher court on Nwosu’s case.

“The point must be made that the decision of this court in Nwosu’s case was based on proof of evidence.”

The judge noted that all the charges against the defendants arose out of capital market transactions.

“Only federal high court is conferred with the exclusive jurisdiction to try cases of capital market transaction,” she stressed.

The appellate court held that the lower court owes it a duty to compare and contrast the documents cited by parties.

“It is its duty to examine materials brought before him. It is the role of the judge to do justice in adjudicating all the cases brought before him.

“One sided justice would amount to injustice and favouring one side.

“The proof of evidence was there but the trial judge at the lower court accused the defendants of not furnishing him with the documents.

“He has failed in his duty.”

Justice Augie further held that the appeal filed by the defendants has nothing to do with evidence, noting that the lower court failed to go through argument canvassed before it assumed jurisdiction on the matter.

She emphasised that the issue of jurisdiction should not have been toyed with by the lower court.

“I agree with the appellant that the lower court ought to have gone through the proof of evidence.

“There is no way a charge of stealing can stand without going through the proof of evidence,” she declared.

Posted by on December 31, 2014, 7:55 pm. Filed under Banking, Business, Business News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

17 Comments for “Appeal Court Frees Akingbola Of N47.5b Theft Charge”

  1. Chris Udoh

    I feel sick each time l read that numerous cases of fraud and embezzlements of both public and private funds that have been taken to court by EFCC always end up being dismiss by court. By, the way, who are these lawyers that are siphoning tax payers’ money lining up their pocket for a poor job. I think it is about time EFCC engaged in a policy of no win no pay with lawyers they are hiring their services, otherwise the agency will be a source of drain and toothless bull dog.

  2. C j Ezeakolam

    Anything can happen in Nigeria.

  3. C j Ezeakolam

    Who will care for the depositors? Why should people invest in Nigeria? Where is accountability? where is Justice? Anything can happen. Nigeria is a Failed nation.

  4. Okokomaiko

    Cash and carry justice – the Naija way

  5. sanyapraise

    the court has decided, what next?

  6. olu

    Nigeria we fail thee.The judge has taken her own cut of the money.Does Augie and Akingboka have conscience? God will be judge.

  7. whitequils

    The appellate court may have passed a favorable judgement but what lessons have been learnt by the EFCC on this, what were the loop holes, the omission and commissions.
    More importantly, where lies and who protects the interest of depositors. The MD may not have committed the offense by commission however as MD I believe he was responsible ultimately in so far as he has not pointed out the exact employee or group of employees who actually committed the crime. We will need the lawyers to help shed more light on this import of this judgement.
    For all the lives that were impacted, someone needs to answer some questions

  8. OLA

    Sanusi lamido sanusi played corporate politics by selling erastus akingbola’s intercontinental bank to aig-imouquede’s access bank there is more to this issue than what the players are showing us let us wait and see.

  9. Our judiciary is too corrupt to the bone and they are working hard to frustrating EFCC.

  10. Suny Lulu

    @ Larry Basford, the issue of corruption in our nation is a very serious one that actually needs our collective efforts if the canker-worm is to be removed.
    If your assertion is correct and it can be proved (that members of the EFCC / the judiciary might be working against the nation), I would advise you to make such evidence available to the police for further investigations.
    It is also advisable that high profile fraud cases of this nature should in future be outsourced to private legal firms where the rewards would be pro rata and based on their performance. It will be difficult to buy them over as can be done with govt prosecutors who might be easily tempted.

  11. Prince Ebialomoh1

    The judge noted that all the charges against the defendants arose out of capital market transactions.
    “Only federal high court is conferred with the exclusive jurisdiction to try cases of capital market transaction,” she stressed.

    In fact, both EFCC and their lawyers are crooks and not learned. They started this ignorantly and they end up disgraced. What a shame!!

  12. Aliyu Sule

    After his donation to Power PDP!!!!!!!!!

  13. jasonjasi

    Very good analogy. Shoddy job by overpaid and corrupt lawyers. In developed countries an inquest would immediately be ordered when coupled with efcc’s past prosecutions. Just like in an hospital, when you start to witness high rate of unexpected death among patients -an investigation is ordered. Sadly in Nigeria’s case, any inquest or investigation set up to examine any matter is always a further attempt to dip their hands in the till and accept kickbacks. One sometimes wonder if Nigeria can still be redeemed.

  14. ADEYEMI GBADEGESIN

    ALL THOSE THAT ACCUSED THE JUDGE OF UNJUSTLY FREEING AKINGBOLA, APPEARED TO HAVE MISSED THE POINT.THE APPEAL COURT JUDGE,EXPRESSLY STATED,THAT THE APPELLANTS WERE CONVICTED ON ISSUE RELATED TO CAPITAL MARKET TRANSACTIONS,WHICH,ACCORDING TO THE JUDGE,IS OUT SIDE THE JURISDICTION OF STATE HIGH COURTS.SHE MENTIONED A SIMILAR CASE,NWOSU CASE,WHICH WAS DECIDED IN FAVOUR OF THE APPELANTS.THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK IS THIS:IS IT TRUE THAT NWOSU CASE WAS DECIDED ON LACK OF JURISDICTION OF THE STATE HIGH COURT?IF THIS IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE,THEN WHERE IS THE FAULT OF THE JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL?NONE,AS FAR AS THE ISSUE OF LAW AND CONSCIENCE IS CONCERNED.SO THE JUDGE OF COURT OF APPEAL IS BLAMELESS.THE ERROR THEN PROCEEDED FROM THE LAGOS HIGH COURT JUDGE WHO ENTERTAINED THE CASE WHEN HE SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE SO.MOREOVER,WHEN HE HAS A PRECEDENT TO FALL ON.THIS IS THE SIMPLE LOGIC.THOSE SUGGESTING FOUL PLAY ON THE PART OF THE JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL,FOR ALLOWING THE APPEAL TO STAND,ARE GROSSLY UNFAIR TO THE JUDGE.THEY SHOULD APOLOGISE TO THE JUDGE FOR IMPUGNING HIS INTEGRITY.THIS IS ONE OF THE NIGERIAN MENTALITY AND MINDSET THAT ALWAYS EXPECT A GUILTY VERDICT ANYTIME THE ISSUE OF FRAUD IS INVOLVED,REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OR NOT.THIS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO.IT IS MUST BE NOTED THAT,THE JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL HAS NOT EXONORATED THE ACCUSED,COMPLETELY,FROM COMMITTING THE CRIME.HE ONLY RULED ON THE ISSUE OF JURISDICTION.THE ONUS LIES ON THE EFCC,TO LEARN THEIR MISTAKE AND AMEND THE CHARGE AND PROCEED WITH THE TRIAL OF THE ACCUSED.PERIOD

  15. jojo

    Ha ha ha thevguy have settled them with 1 million again and go free. Coruptive leaders.

  16. Kinsley

    Ocult judge freed ocult bank thief

  17. Samuel Owokoniran

    Sanusi Lamido Sanusi out of envy and hatred sold Intercontinental Bank to his cronies and people are saying what they don’t know here! A project built by God can not be destroyed by man no matter how much they try! Intercontinental Bank is a Project in the hand of God and NO MAN can destroy it’s monumental legacy! This is just the Begining of the victory, God is at work! Other evil done by satanic agents who have been in power or currently in power shall be reversed including Intercontinental Bank sales. God bless Nigeria!

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