From: Lukman Olabiyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned the Managing Director of First Options Motors Company Ltd, Wali Olayiwola Akande, and his company the Lagos State High Court, at an Igbosere court over alleged N160million fraud.
Akande and First Options Motors were docked before Justice Sybil Nwaka on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and stealing.
The EFCC said the defendants, with intent to defraud, conspired and obtained the sum in tranches of N100million, N30million, N20million and N10million.
EFCC counsel, Mr S. O. Daji, told the court that the defendants committed the alleged offences on January 27, March 1, 8, 12 and May 4, 2012.
He said Akande persuaded a firm, Olam Nigeria Ltd, to hand over the sums as part payment for the purchase 14.960 hectares of land at Flowergate Scheme, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State.
According to him, the money was the property of another firm, Records Manufacturers Nigeria Ltd.
The offences, Daji added, contravened sections 1(3) and 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
Upon enquiry from the judge, Daji explained that the defendants were arraigned for the same alleged offences before Justice D. Oluwayemi on May 30, 2013,
But, following Justice Oluwayemi’s retirement three years later. the suit was transferred and is beginning de novo (anew).
“We have nine witnesses and we shall be asking for a trial date. The case was formerly before another judge, who is now retired. I was not involved in that matter, but I understand that almost three years was spent cross-examining one witness,” Daji said.
However, defence counsel, Prince Wale Oloke, blamed the EFCC for the trial delay.
He said: “I was in that matter and the EFCC’S excuse was that it was short-staffed. For three years they were wasting time.”
Oloke urged the court to allow Akande enjoy bail on the terms granted him by the previous court.
Upholding his application, Justice Nwaka adjourned till December 19 for trial.