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Supreme Court orders Akingbola to face trial for alleged N5bn fraud

The Supreme Court, on Friday, gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, a go-ahead to prosecute former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola over his alleged involvement in 5 Billion fraud.

The trial was prematurely terminated in April 2012 by Justice Charles Archibong, whose decision in the case later earned him a compulsory retirement from the bench. Justice Archibong (now retired) had in a judgement delivered on April 2, 2012 struck out the 26 counts contained in a charge numbered FHC/L/443C/2013 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Akingbola on the grounds that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case.

But the Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgement by a five-man panel of justices, ordered Akingbola to return to the Federal High Court in Lagos to face charges against him.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously affirmed the February 20, 2015 judgement of the Court of Appeal in Lagos which had overturned the Federal High Court’s decision striking out the charges.

Justice Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment of the apex court, said Akingbola’s appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s verdict lacked merit.

He ordered that the case be remitted to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos Division and be given “expeditious trial.”

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