Witnesses’ absence stalls N11.5 bn suit against Alao-Akala, others

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The trial of the former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala and two others for alleged N11.5 billion fraud was, on Thursday, stalled due to absence of  defendants’ witnesses.

Alao-Akala, former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and a businessman, Femi Babalola, are facing an 11-court charge levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The defendants were arraigned in 2011 for conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, and award of contract without budgetary provision among others.

The EFCC had closed its case against the defendants while the defendant filed a no-case submission, saying they had no case to answer.

Justice Olalekan Owolabi had, on July 1, ruled on the no-case submission, saying the defendants had case to answer and must enter defence on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, award of contract without budgetary provision.

At the Thursday hearing, Mr Akeem Afolabi, SAN, counsel to Alao-Akala and Babalola, informed the court that he had two witnesses to be subpoenaed for the defence,

Afolabi said service had yet to be effected on the subpoenaed witnesses and that the witnesses were key to  his case.

The counsel gave the name of the subpoenaed witnesses to be an official of EFCC, Mr Muhammed Goji and a Senior police officer, Usman Dahiru.

He prayed the court to grant him an adjournment for the court papers to be served on the subpoenaed witnesses.

The counsel to Agboola, Richard Ogunwole, SAN, aligned with the submission of Afolabi and urged the court for an adjournment.

The Counsel to EFCC, Mr Ubi Benedict, who received the subpoenaed order pledged to serve the documents on the witnesses and ensure that they appear in court.

Owolabi adjourned the case until October 21 and October 22 for further hearing. (NAN)

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