N8b Fraud: Court Adjourns Case Till Wednesday | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


N8b Fraud: Court Adjourns Case Till Wednesday

Posted: Jun 27, 2015 at 8:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oladele Ogunsola /  Ibadan


Following two applications brought before the Federal High Court, Ibadan on Friday by the counsel to five of the accused persons standing trial over financial fraud involving about N8bn belonging to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the trial judge, Olayinka Faji could not commence accelerated hearing of the case as earlier promised as he adjourned the hearing of the applications to next week Wednesday.

The case was instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against five bank officials namely Kolawole Babalola, Muniru Olaniran Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philips, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide in suit number FHC/IB/34c/15.

They were alleged to have defrauded the CBN over N8bn through the N1000 mutilated notes meant to be destroyed between 2010 and 2014, but which converted into personal fund.

Before Friday’s sitting, Faji had dismissed the bail applications brought on their behalf by their counsel and granted accelerated hearing for all the accused persons last week, when he adjourned hearing of the case till yesterday.

But at the resumed hearing, counsel to the first accused, Olayinka Bolanle, said he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case, the same position the counsel to the second, third and fifth accused persons, Olalekan Ojo said he had taken.

Ojo told the court that he had filed notice of appeal challenging the pronouncement of the judge in the bail applications for his clients declaring that the judge should disqualify himself from hearing the case.

According to him, “My Lord, based on your pronouncement from pages 93 to 97 of the ruling on bail application where you said that ‘the second and third defendants seem deeply involved’ shows that you are already biased, you had already convicted my clients before hearing their case and by so doing you should not seat over this case again”.

However, counsel to the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN said the Judge gave ruling on the bail applications since last week Friday and that the counsel to the accused persons ought to have filed and served any application they intended to bring before the court before the fixed hearing date (Friday).

Jacobs noted that what the trial judge had said in the ruling that ‘the second and third accused persons seem to have deeply involved ‘ does not mean that the judge is biased or already convicted the accused persons.

Counsel to the fourth accused person, Dare Adebayo, in his remark told the court that he was ready to go on with the trial.

Before pronouncing adjournment of the case, the trial judge remarked that “in a criminal trial, it is not the accused persons that is on trial but the presiding judge, because lawyers, people in the society will be making comments whether your pronouncement is involved or against, but we are used to it, it is the responsibility of the judge to give all the parties fear hearing”.

He subsequently directed the accused counsel to file other necessary applications they deem important before the next adjourned date.