By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Supreme Court, on Friday, gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the nod to try former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola over his alleged involvement in N5billion fraud.
Dr. Erastus Akingbola
The court, in a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel of Justices, ordered Akingbola to return to the Federal High Court in Lagos to face charges against him.
It will be recalled that hearing on the case against the former Intercontinental Bank boss was abruptly stopped in 2012 by trial Justice Charles Archibong under a controversial circumstance that led to compulsory retirement of the judge by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
Justice Archibong had in a verdict he delivered on April 2, 2012, struck out the 26-count contained in the charge marked FHC/L/443C/2013 for want of diligent prosecution.
However, following an appeal that was lodged by the EFCC, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, overturned the decision of the trial and ordered the defendant to answer to allegations against him.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Akingbola took the case before the Supreme Court where he lost on Friday.
The apex court panel led by Justice Tanko Muhammad, affirmed the February 20, 2015, judgment of the appellate court, and held that Akingbola has a case to answer.
Justice Sidi Bage who read the lead judgment held that Akingbola’s appeal lacked merit.
The apex court ordered that the case be remitted back to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge.
It further ordered acellarated hearing of the case.