Appeal court orders fresh trial for Erastus Akingbola over N5bn fraud

 

Report gathered that, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has reinstated a N5bn fraud charge struck out by a Federal High Court in Lagos against a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola.

The appellate court, which upturned the judgment of the trial judge, Justice Charles Archibong, ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Auta, to re-assign Akingbola’s case to another judge for re-trial “on merit and for accelerated hearing.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had, in 2013, dragged Akingbola before Archibong on an allegation of financial impropriety to the tune of N5bn.

The judge, while striking out the EFCC’s case against Akingbola, described the prosecuting team as “a drain in the public purse.”

“This prosecution team has chosen to pursue a campaign to scandalise the court, which amounts to serious and professional incompetence in the prosecution of the accused.

“This prosecution team or any part of it shall not be given further audience in this court in relation to the charges against the accused, either before this presiding judge or any other judge of the Federal High Court, for the reason I have given in the foregoing,” Archibong held..

The anti-graft agency, in its four grounds of appeal, contended that Archibong erred in law when he proceeded to strike out the prosecution’s case without affording it the opportunity to be heard.

The EFCC said before striking out the case, Archibong failed to invite any of the parties, adding that the decision of the judge to strike out the matter was without the consent of any of the parties.

 

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