Lagos - The Lagos High Court in Ikeja has fixed May 2 as the date for the ruling on the applications filed by a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, and his co-defendant, Bayo Dada, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the N47.1 billion theft charge preferred against them.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking their prosecution.
The trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, fixed the date after hearing arguments on the preliminary notices of objection by the defendants counsel and the EFCC. Moving the application, Akingbola's counsel, Wole Olanipekun, said the subject matter of the alleged offences related to banking operations and capital market issues which conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court.
Olanipekun cited a judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Nov.21, 2013 in a matter filed by a former Managing Director of Finbank, Okey Nwosu, against the EFCC .
He said the court had struck out the theft charge preferred against Nwosu on the grounds that the Lagos High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter because the charge emanated from capital market transactions.
According to him, the information in Nwosu's case, the counts, the particulars of offences were similar to that of Akingbola.
Olanipekun said, "The court is bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal. We urge Your Lordship to be guided by their decision in Nwosu's case."
He further argued that the charge was an abuse of court processes because a similar charge involving Akingbola and the EFCC was currently pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Olanipekun, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the charge against the former bank chief.
EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla, urged the court to dismiss the charge, arguing that it had jurisdiction over the matter.
"This court has jurisdiction to entertain any matter brought under Section 14 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act," he argued.
- CAJ News