Alleged N1.5bn Fraud: Court Refuses Alao-Akala’s Stay of Proceedings

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Justice M. L. Owolabi of the Oyo State High Court sitting in Iyaganku, Ibadan on Monday refused the application by a former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala and the Chief Executive Officer of Pentagon Consults, Olufemi Ademola Babalola, for stay of proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal at the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Owolabi said “stay of proceedings will do more damage to the case which has been pending since 2011 and ordered the prosecution to assemble all its witnesses at the next date”.

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Alao-Akala alongside a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hosea Ayoola Agboola and a contractor and Chief Executive Officer of Pentagon Consults, Mr Olufemi Ademola Babalola are standing trial for offences bordering on alleged criminal conspiracy and fraudulent practices to the tune of N11.5bn.

They were earlier arraigned on an 11-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. However, after arraignment, their trial was stalled following their applications to stay further proceedings/trial pending the determination of their appeals at the Supreme Court by counsel to the first and third defendants, A.O. Afolabi (SAN) and A. Ogunwole (SAN).

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Their motions were however opposed by the prosecuting counsel, Ben Ubi. Relying on his written submissions on points of law, he urged the court to refuse the applications and order for accelerated hearing of the case in accordance with the intendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Oyo State, 2016 and Section 19(2)(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(Establishment) Act, 2004.

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The case has been adjourned to June 29 and July 3, 2018 for trial.

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