An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan yesterday adjourned the ongoing trial of former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and two others over N11.5billion alleged fraud to June 29, 2018.
The defendants, including a former Oyo State commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Senator Hosea Agboola; and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola, are facing an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, award of contracts without budgetary provision, obtaining funds by false pretense, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing the owner of such property, among others.
Delivering his ruling on an earlier application asking the trial court to allow the Supreme Court deliver its ruling on an earlier interlocutory appeal filed to determine the competence of the case, Justice Owolabi dismissed the application as tantamount to asking for a stay of proceedings which is against the spirit of the administration of criminal justice act, and ordered the prosecution to put its witnesses in the box for commencement of trial.
EFCC counsel, Dr. B. Ubi, while seeking leave of court, pleaded for an adjournment to enable him assemble his witnesses at a later date, citing exigencies of time, cost and distance as reason for the absence of his witnesses in court.
Counsel to the defendants aligned with the submission of prosecution for adjournment but informed the court of its readiness to go ahead with its defence as against the lack of preparedness of EFCC and its prosecution team.
It will be recalled that the former governor had filed an interlocutory appeal before the Supreme Court bordering on the N11.5billion fraud case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).