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N364BN FRAUD: COURT DEFERS RULING ON AKINGBOLA'S BAIL TILL AUGUST 30

By NBF News

A Federal High Court has on Wednesday deferred till Monday ruling in the bail application brought by former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc., Erastus Akingbola.

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos reserved the ruling after counsel to the sacked bank chief; Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) and counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kola Awodein (SAN) had argued for five hours on their written submissions.

Akingbola was charged to court by the anti-graft agency on a 22-count charge of theft, market manipulation, insider trading, abuse of office and economic crime worth N346.1 billion equivalent to £10.9 million.

While making the bail application, Fagbohungbe told the court that Akingbola had to journey to the United Kingdom (UK) in order to safeguard his life and avoid being harassed, molested or even murdered by security agencies. This, according to him, was not to avoid being arrested as alleged by the EFCC.

Apart from this, he stated that the applicant had to remain in the UK because the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, had said the bank chiefs who were sacked deserved to be tied and shot.

He insisted that the allegations against Akingbola did not carry a death sentence or life imprisonment but were bailable offences.

However, in opposition to this, the EFCC argued that the charges preferred against the defendant were serious and further criminal charges would be filed against him.

He urged the court to refuse the application since Akingbola had also implicated some persons in his statement.

According to him, Akingbola had refused to release his passport so as to evade trial if granted bail and flee to a country with which Nigeria has no extradition treaty.

It averred that Akingbola would have not returned to the country to face the criminal charge against him but for the extradition proceedings initiated against him in the United Kingdom by the Attorney General, Bello Adoke.

But Akingbola's team had insisted that his decision to come home and clear his name was voluntary and had nothing to do with the London case, especially as the case was not due for mention until sometime in October.

The anti-graft agency averred that Akingbola had in a statement made to the Commission on August 5, 2010 admitted some of the allegations against him. But the defendant denied the agency's averments against him.