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N5bn Fraud: Supreme Court Asks Akingbola, Ex-bank MD, To Face Trial

The supreme court has ordered Erastus Akingbola, to face trial at the federal high court, Lagos, over his alleged N5 billion fraud charge.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Akingbola, ex-managing director of the former Intercontinental Bank Plc.

On Friday, a five-man panel of the apex court affirmed the February 2015 judgment of the court of appeal in Lagos which overturned the federal high court’s decision striking out the charges against Akingbola.

Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment of the apex court, held that Akingbola’s appeal challenging the court of appeal’s judgment lacked merit.

He ordered that the case file be remitted to the federal high court, Lagos, for trial and to be handled by another judge.

Kumai Akaahs, a member of the panel, said he was worried by the stand of the trial judge in the matter.

Akaahs said Charles Archibong — the judge the voided the trial — acted like a military dictator when he descended into the arena and chided the prosecution for their inability to prosecute and therefore removed his toga of impartiality.

“He constituted himself into a military dictator and this is regarded as judicial tyranny and a case of bias was established against the judge,” he said.

“While we have immunity, we do not have absolute powers to do and undo.”

Archibong had brought Akingbola’s trial to an end in 2012 by striking out the 26 counts contained in a charge filed against him by the EFCC.

The judge had described the EFCC prosecution team as “a drain in the public purse” and directed then attorney-general of the federation to disband the team.

His decision in the case reportedly led to his compulsory retirement from the bank

 

News Agency

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