Alleged N11.5b Fraud: Absence Of Witnesses Stalls Trial Of Alao-Akala, Others

Justice Muniru Owolabi of the Oyo State High Court yesterday adjourned the trial of former Governor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala and two others for alleged N11.5 billion fraud due to the absence of prosecution witnesses in court.

The trial judge of Court 15, Oyo State High Court, had adjourned the matter till November 30, following pleas by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Other accused persons in the matter are: former Commissioner, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as well as Senate Deputy Chief Whip Hosea Agboola and a businessman, Femi Babalola.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, EFCC counsel, Dr. B. Uni, pleaded for a two-week grace to produce the witness in court, after the court could not proceed on the trial of the defendants.

Justice Owolabi accepted the excuse by the EFCC counsel and adjourned the matter till November 30.

According to the EFCC, the alleged fraud was committed when Alao-Akala (first defendant) was governor between 2007 and 2011.

Agboola (the second defendant) was the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters while Babalola owns an engineering firm, Pentagon Engineering Services, which executed some contracts for the administration.

On October 11, 2011, the anti-graft agency filed the matter before Justice Moshood Abass.

The defendants were admitted to bail, which they perfected.

Justices Akintunde Boade and Bayo Taiwo also sat on the matter before the former retired and the latter was transferred out of Ibadan Division.

Alao-Akala was admitted to bail for N5 million with two sureties in like sum, while the second and third defendants were granted bail for N3 million each with two sureties in like sum.

But the EFCC re-arraigned the three defendants before Justice Owolabi on March 5 on the same matter.

The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

The defendants are facing 11-count charges of conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.

Alao-Akala allegedly ordered the supply of drilling machines on behalf of the 33 local government areas valued at N3.5 billion.

The former governor was also said to have conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9 billion from Oyo State Local Government Joint Account.

He was also said to have illegally acquired some property on Old Bodija Road, off Rotimi Williams Road in Ibadan, the state capital, when he was the governor.

The offences, according to the prosecution, contravene Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s