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Court rejects Akingbola's bid to recall witness

10 October 2012, 16:14

Lagos -  An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, to recall a defence witness, Mrs Ayoola Ayinde.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akingbola is standing trial with an associate, Bayo Dada, for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion belonging to Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank Plc).

The application dated Oct.9, which was filed by the defence counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN), was dismissed by Justice Habeeb Abiru.

The application sought to recall Ayinde, a former head of foreign operations of Intercontinental Bank to tender 75 documents as exhibits.

The documents were to be tendered by the witness to explain the 8.5 million pounds and 1.3 million pounds transactions she carried out on Akingbola's instructions.

Ayinde had on June 21 testified that Akingbola had instructed her to transfer the monies to Fulgher Solicitors, a United Kingdom-based law firm and that it was a regular transaction.

Fagbohungbe said the purpose of tendering the documents was to show that the money transferred to Fulgher was owned by Rockson Engineering Ltd, which contradicted the charge before the court.

He said:"In the charge, the first defendant (Akingbola) is alleged to have stolen the bank's money.

"We are now saying through these documents that the money belonged to Rockson and that the total amount on Rockson's account was paid out based on the 75 instructions, including that of the first defendant".

Mr Godwin Obla (SAN), counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), however, opposed Ayinde's recall, arguing that it was a ploy by Akingbola's counsel to delay the trial.

In his ruling, the judge held that recalling Ayinde was unnecessary because she had already tendered all the relevant documents she had in her possession as exhibits.

Abiru said:"There is nothing new the witness is coming to say. It is pointless for me to recall her.

"Of these 75 documents, only one is relevant to this charge and she has already tendered it and it was admitted by the court as Exhibit D4".

He, therefore, ordered the defence to close its case if it had no further witnesses.

Fagbohungbe, however, pleaded with the court for an adjournment to enable the defence call its final witness.

The matter was adjourned to Oct.23 for further trial.



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