N11.5bn Fraud: We Have Nothing to Say– Alao-Akala, Others Tell Court

A Former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala and two others charged with N11.5 billion fraud case have told an Oyo State High Court in Ibadan that they had no case to answer.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Alao-Akala, former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hosea Agboola and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

The defendants are facing an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining money by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act among others.

At the resumed trial on Thursday, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to Alao-Akala and Babalola, while adopting his written address in the no-case submission, informed the court that his clients had no case to answer.

Fagbemi said that none of the documents tendered by the prosecution linked his clients with the charges against them, adding that it was unnecessary calling his clients to enter the witness box.

He further said that there was no evidence before the court that the contract was signed by any of the defendants.

Fagbemi said that the documents tendered by the prosecution showed that the contract was signed by Ademola Ojo, the state former Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON).

He said that none of the essential ingredients of the charges against the defendants had been proved by the EFCC.

Fagbemi urged the court to uphold his no-case submission, saying that it would amount to persecution calling on the defendants to give evidence.

He further said that it was the duty of the EFCC to prove and link the defendants with the charges against them, which they had abandoned

In his submission, Mr Richard Ogunwole, counsel to Agboola, said that EFCC failed to provide the petitioner, saying the prosecution was acting on an anonymous petition.

Ogunwole told the court that the defence had satisfied all the ingredients of no-case submission and no case had been made against his client that would warrant them entering the witness box.

He urged the court to uphold his no-case submission.

In his response, the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Festus Ojo, urged the court to reject the no-case submission filed by the defendants and called on them to defend the allegations against them.

Ojo said that it was immaterial that none of the defendants signed the contract, adding that all evidence, both oral and circumstantial leaked them to the offence and must be called upon to enter defence.

Justice Olalekan Owolabi adjourned the case till July 15 for ruling on the no-case submission.

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