N8b currency scam: Court stays proceedings
The Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State on Friday stayed further proceedings in the alleged N8 billion currency scam brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against some Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial bank workers. The judge, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, held that the reasonable thing to do in the circumstance was to allow the appellate court to give definite pronouncement or say as far as the cases were concerned. The judge held: “I will, therefore, grant the relieve two been sought by the defence counsel in these matters pending the determination of the appellate court. “In conclusion, these proceedings are therefore stayed and same adjourned pending the determination of the appellate court.
“Subsequently, further adjournment is granted pending the determination of the various appeals before the court of appeal and further hearing notice will be served to all parties on conclusion of appeals.”
Ayo-Emmanuel, however, dismissed the first relieve challenging the appearance of Muftaudeen Adebayo, lead counsel to the EFCC, in the case.
It would be recalled that most of the defendants in the currency scam had in July 2015, when they were first arraigned, accused the judge of been biased and incompetent to handle the cases.
This was after the judge described the evidence against them as being “mind boggling” before trial.
Consequently, the defence counsel approached the court of appeal to disqualify the judge from further handling of the matters.
Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Ajala, Philip Togun, Johnson Afolabi, Tope Akintade, Sunday Adekunle, and Fatai Yusuf were between June and July 2015 arraigned on financial fraud.
The fraud allegation bordered on recirculation of mutilated currency, conspiracy and theft of N8 billion, property of the CBN.
Meanwhile, the wife of Tope Akintade, one of the defendants, wept profusely in and out of the court due to the refusal of the court to grant him bail.
His counsel, Oritshuwa Uwawah, had tendered a special plea before the judge that his client was dying in the prison custody.
The judge, however, held that the court could not overrule itself in the earlier position it had taken and referred Uwawah to go back to the Court of Appeal for his plea.