A former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, has filed an interlocutory appeal before the Supreme Court, seeking an adjournment of the N11.5bn fraud case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
His co-defendants, Ayoola Agboola and Femi Babalola – a member of the People’s Democratic Party in Oyo State – filed similar applications.
As a result of the development, the trial of the defendants, which was scheduled to commence on Monday before Justice Muniru Owolabi of an Oyo State High Court at Iyaganku, Ibadan, was stalled.
The EFCC said the alleged crime was committed when Alao-Akala was governor of Oyo State between 2007 and 2011, during which Agboola served as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.
Babalola was said to be the owner of Pentagon Engineering Service, a firm allegedly involved in the execution of some controversial contracts.
Counsel for Alao-Akala and Babalola, Hakeem Afolabi (SAN), informed the court that his clients had filed an interlocutory appeal on the matter before the Supreme Court, and sought an adjournment in order to await the decision of the apex court.
He said the applications were dated April 7, 2018 and filed on April 9, 2018, adding that they were anchored on 10 grounds.
He also prayed the court to allow the defendants to go and “sin no more even though they are not sinners,” quoting some pronouncements of the Supreme Court.
Counsel for Agboola, Richard Ogunwole (SAN), aligned himself with the two applications, saying the interlocutory appeal in the Supreme Court would terminate the proceedings at the high court.
Justice Owolabi adjourned the case till June 4, 2018 for ruling on the applications.
Alao-Akala and the other defendants are facing 11 counts bordering on conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property.
Counsel for the former governor said, “The 10 grounds in the applications were to demonstrate that it would be an act of injustice for this court to proceed when the defendants have their appeals, pending before the Supreme Court.”
17 April, 2018