By Sadiq Umar – The Supreme Court has ordered a resumption of trial of former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, in the alleged N5billion bank fraud case.
The Apex court ruled that Mr. Akingbola’s case be return to the Federal High Court in Lagos for a restart of the trial over the alleged N5bn fraud charges.
Justice Archibong struck out the 26 counts contained in a charge numbered FHC/L/443C/2013 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC against Akingbola on the grounds that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case.
The controversial ruling then resulted to the compulsory retirement slammed on the judge.
However, in the latest judgment, the five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously affirmed the February 20, 2015, judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos which had overturned the Federal High Court’s previous ruling, dismissing the charges.
Justice Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment, held that Mr Akingbola’s appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s verdict lacked merit.
He therefore ordered that the case be remitted to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos Division and be given “expeditions trial”.