Monday, June 23, 2014 6:04 pm
Ikeja – A former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, on Monday asked an Ikeja High Court to stay proceedings in his N47.1 billion theft trial.
His co-defendant, Bayo Dada, General Manager of Tropics Securities Ltd, also filed a similar application before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.
The defendants are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
During Monday’s proceedings, Akingbola’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) informed the court that the defence had filed an application asking the court to stay further hearing in the trial.
Olanipekun said the application was premised on Akingbola’s appeal against Lawal Akapo’s ruling on May 2, where the court assumed jurisdiction on the matter.
He said that the Notice of Appeal was already before the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, and that the record of proceedings had already been transferred to the appellate court.
According to him, the Court of Appeal has already fixed July 3 for hearing and it will be in the interest of justice for the lower court to wait for the outcome of the proceedings.
Olanipekun said that the application for stay of proceedings had been served on the prosecution and the defence was waiting to file its reply on points of law.
He, therefore, asked the court for an adjournment and also to vacate the July 24 and 25 trial dates fixed for the matter.
On his part, Dada’s counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), aligned himself with Olanipekun’s submission.
Osipitan urged the court to adjourn proceedings pending the hearing and determination of Akingbola’s appeal.
Responding, the EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla (SAN), said he was only served the application on Monday and that he was ready to give an oral argument to accelerate proceedings.
Obla argued that the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 prohibited the court from entertaining such applications.
“The court cannot hear the application through the back door; the business of today is for trial to commence,” he said.
In a short ruling, the judge acceded to the request of the defence counsel and adjourned the matter until July 11 for argument.