FirstNation: EFCC witness’ absence stalls N1.7bn fraud trial of Odukoya

Managing Director of First Nation Airlines, Kayode Odukoya

The trial of the Managing Director of FirstNation Airline, Kayode Odukoya, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court was on Monday stalled due to the absence of a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

FirstNation Airline and Bellview Airline are joined as second and third defendants in the N1.7 billion fraud suit before the court.

At the resumption of hearing on Monday, the EFCC Prosecutor, Zainab Ettu, informed the court that the first prosecution witness was absent.

She said, “We regret to inform the court that we are not prepared.

“The first prosecution witness that we were supposed to call was outside Lagos as at yesterday.

“I was in the office till 6.00 pm and he was not yet in Lagos. He is in town today but I told him not to bother.

“When I knew we could not go on today, I sent the defence a message.”

Responding, Olawale Akoni (SAN), Odukoya’s lawyer, expressed disappointment with the development.

He said, “I got a message from the prosecution, I find this development a bit strange but I would not be commenting.”

Akoni, in his submission, also told the court that the defence had filed a notice of preliminary objection dated April 30 opposing the suit.

Odukoya, through his lawyers, is seeking two orders: an order striking out the charge and an order discharging the defendants of the charges filed against them by the EFCC.

The grounds on which the preliminary objection are filed are that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the charge with n0. ID/239C/2012 and that the charge contravenes Sections 77, 249 and 252 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).

According to the defence, Section 249 of the ACJL stipulates that the prosecutorial authority before the High Court of Lagos State shall be exercised only in the name of “The State of Lagos.”   

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