Justice Akintunde Boade of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan has adjourned to April 26 for hearing of the applications filed by the prosecuting counsel, Godwin Obla for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and counsel to the accused persons, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
The accused persons are Christopher Alao-Akala, former governor of Oyo State; Hosea Ayoola Agboola, a serving senator and Olufemi Babalola, a business man.
They were arraigned for alleged conspiracy to steal and award contracts without budget provision.
At the resumed hearing on Monday February 20, 2012, Counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla said he has filed a preliminary objection to the application by the accused persons seeking to quash the charges against them. He urged the court to take notices of his preliminary objection.
Lateef Fagbemi, who led four other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and a horde of lawyers in defence of the accused persons, had filed a motion on notice dated December 16, 2011 in which he sought to quash the charges preferred against the accused persons on the grounds that charges do not disclose any offence known to law.
However, in part of his written address in support of his notice of preliminary objection Obla noted that “the law is trite that by virtue of section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Act Laws of the Federation 2004 an objection to a charge like the instant 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons motion on notice, shall be taken immediately after the charge is read over to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons and not later.” He also stated that the proper time or stage when the accused persons ought to have filed the motion on notice was when the charge was read to the accused persons.
Although Fagbemi had requested for 21 days to respond to the preliminary objection stating that each of the accused person would need about 7 days to file his response. He said he was going to respond to each of the accused person’s application one by one.
Obla objected to the request stating that the application was akin to a bail application and so the court ought to hear it expeditiously. He also told the court that the accused persons were well represented by senior advocates and many other lawyers so they were capable of responding within 7 days.
Justice Baade then adjourned proceedings to April 26 for hearing of the applications.
Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala and two other accused persons, Hosea Ayoola Agboola, a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former commissioner of local government and chieftaincy matters in Oyo State and Olufemi Ademola Babalola, a contractor were first arraigned before Justice M. Abbas but were re-arraigned before Justice Boade after Justice Abbas voluntarily withdrew from the case Justice Boade later admitted the three accused persons to bail with the same bail terms under Justice Abbas.
Media & Publicity Unit
20th February, 2012.