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N11.5bn Fraud: Judge’s Retirement Stalls Alao-Akala’s Trial

The N11.5 billion alleged fraud case leveled against former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two other persons, has been stalled.

The continued hearing of the suit  was on stalled, Monday, over the impending retirement of the trial judge, Justice Akintunde Boade.

The former governor and his former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters now Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Hosea Agboola, as well as a businessman, Femi Babalola, are standing trial in an 11-count charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission {EFCC}.

When hearing in the case resumed on Monday, lead counsel to EFCC, Chief Godwin Obla, declared his readiness to go on with the trial, but for the impending retirement of Justice Boade, whom he wished a happy retirement.

Responding to Obla’s position, Justice Boade said, “Just as you have said, I can’t hear this case, because I don’t want to embark on the journey which I cannot complete. It is obvious that I will soon retire.”

Lead counsel to the accused persons, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and Pastor Richard Ogunwole, SAN, told the court that they had filed an appeal against the ruling of the court which said their clients have a case to answer late last year as they also wished Justice Boade a happy retirement.

The trial judge had on December 12, 2012 declared that the former governor and the other accused persons facing the 11-count charge before him really have a case to answer.

The judge then adjourned further hearing in the case till March 27, 2013.

The 11-count charge include conspiracy, illegal award of contracts, obtaining by false presence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act, and concealing the ownership of such property.

Fagbemi had filed a preliminary objection to the charge, asking the court to quash it as it did not disclose any substantial evidence to warrant the accused persons standing full trial based on the allegations

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