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Again, Court Orders Bankole To Stand Trial In Contract Fraud Suit

Source: THEWILL. -
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ABUJA, December 19, (THEWILL) – Embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole must stand trial in the N984 million contract inflation suit filed against him and his erstwhile deputy Usman Nafada, a Federal High Court ruled Monday.

The court in Abuja presided over by Justice Donatus Okonkwo, also dismissed the former Speaker’s objection challenging the prosecutorial powers of the counsel representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Festus Keyamo in the matter.

This is Bankole’s second loss having lost a similar appeal at an Abuja High Court weeks ago.

Bankole is facing 16 felony counts before Justice Donatus Okonkwo.

In his ruling Monday, Justice Okonkwo sided with Mr. Keyamo, saying there is substantial evidence linking Bankole to the alleged offences.

“I am convinced with the position of the prosecutor that there is a link between the accused and the offence in which case, the trial has to proceed.

“Criminal proceedings shall be conducted substantially in line with the criminal Procedure Act, therefore criminal trial before this court will by summary trial,” the judge ruled.

In dismissing the objection challenging Keyamo’s prosecutorial powers filed by Bankole’s lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, Justice Okonkwo said, “The office of the AGF is a legal person. The holder of the office leaves at the expiration of his tenure, but the office remains valid therefore, the charge filed by Keyamo in the absence of Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke is valid. On the whole, the objection of the accused person has failed and prosecution should proceed with trial.”

The trial resumes on February 07, 2012.
Bankole is however out of custody having successfully posted bail.