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EFCC OPPOSES MOTION BY AKINGBOLA'S AIDES

By NBF News
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday opposed the motion by six top officials of Intercontinental Bank Plc, praying a Federal High Court in Lagos to either quash or strike out the 23-count amended charge preferred against them by the anti-graft agency.

The companies, Regal Investment Limited, Tropics Securities Ltd, Tropics Properties Ltd, Tropics Finance and Investment Ltd and Bankinson Nigeria Ltd alongside the former boss of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr Erastus Akignbola, are facingĀ  trial over alleged involvement in money laundering totaling about N27 billion.

The bank officials, who were allegedly believed to be associates of Akingbola, are the Financial Controller of the bank; Akinwumi Solomon Fabunmi, Head of Domestic Operations Toyin Odesile; Head of Foreign Exchange; Ayoola Ayinde; Head of Corporate Treasury Oluwatoyin Oyelade, a director in Intercontinental Bank and General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited Bayo Dada and Manager of Intercontinental Capital Market Limited Ayodele Thomas.

The accused persons had in their motion on notice dated July 22, 2010 prayed the court to quash or strike out the charges on the ground that the entire proof of evidence upon which the said counts were predicated disclosed no prima facie case against the 4th and 7th to 10th defendants.

They also argued that all the counts against them were either vague or ambiguous and could not warrant an arraignment as sought by the complainant.

The accused further argued that counts 1, 3, 4, 9, 15, 17, 18 and 22 for which the 4th and 7th to 10th defendants were charged and indeed the entire proceedings against the 4th and 7th to 10th defendants constitute gross abuse of court process.

The EFCC however posited that all the counts in the charge pertaining the accused persons disclosed a prima facie case against them.

According to the agency, the accused persons were involved in the transactions as disclosed in the proof of evidence which are subject of the charges against them.

It said it would not be in the interest of justice for the court to quash the charges against the accused.

According to the commission's counter affidavit, the applications to quash the charges were designed to delay arraignment and to avoid standing trial before the court.