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Court adjourns trial in alleged N179.8m fraud case

26 September 2013, 14:31

Lagos - A Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere on Thursday adjourned the trial of an ex-Ecobank Customer Service Manager, Tosin Lawal, and her husband, Michael, charged with an alleged N179.8m fraud, till Oct. 9.

The adjournment was made due to activities bordering on the commencement of the 2013/2014 legal year.

Justice Christopher Balogun had at the last hearing, adjourned trial in the substantive criminal charge after the prosecuting counsel, Ayokunle Fayanju, told the court that he thought the case was adjourned for mention.

He explained that that was the reason he had no witnesses in court.

Fayanju then urged the court to fix an adjournment date to enable him produce his witnesses, to which the defence counsel, Mathew Burka, did not object.

Justice Balogun said the case was initially adjourned for hearing, which the prosecuting counsel was aware of, but was now saying that he had no witnesses in court because he thought it was adjourned for mention.

"This is a transferred criminal charge and this court is not in the practice of waiting for the prosecution," he said.

Balogun said that the court was not inclined to strike out the case and that this was the first time an excuse was coming from the prosecuting counsel.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused persons are facing an 11-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and theft, to which the accused had pleaded not guilty.

They were formally arraigned before Justice Babajide Candide-Johnson of the Igbosere High Court on Jan. 24, 2012.

Candide-Johnson had granted the second defendant, Michael, bail in the sum of N5 million, before the case was transferred.

Although the first defendant had also been granted bail by Justice Balogun, she had been unable to perfect her bail conditions.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons allegedly conspired to defraud Ecobank Nigeria Plc of N179.8m, being proceeds from fraudulent sales of foreign currency.

It said the offences contravened Sections 390 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.



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