By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Friday, September 21, 2018 has been fixed by an Ikeja Special offences Court for the ruling on the application filed by Managing Director of First Nation Airways, Mr Kayode Odukoya, seeking to quash the N1.7 billion theft charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The airline chief is facing a four-count charge bordering on forgery, use of false document, perjury and stealing alongside First Nation Airways and Bellview Airline.
According to the EFCC, Mr Odukoya and the other defendants committed the offences on March 21, 2013. They were said to have forged the Memorandum of Loss of Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered as No. 33 on Page 33, Volume 1011 at the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, adding that the defendants intended that the document would be acted on as genuine.
The anti-graft agency said further that the forged document was in respect of a property located at No. 29, Oduduwa St., Ikeja GRA.
The EFCC informed the court that Mr Odukoya used the false document and also gave false information on oath concerning the loss of the certificate of occupancy at the Lagos State Land Registry, alleging further that the suspect stole and converted N1.7 billion belonging to Skye Bank for his own use, on October 7, 2016.
These offences, the EFCC said, violate Sections 85, 86(1) 278(1) (b), 285, 361(1) (a) and (b), 363 and 364 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
At Friday’s proceedings, the defendants’ counsel, Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN), through a preliminary objection, prayed the court to striking out the charge for lack of jurisdiction.
The application was dated April 30 and supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit.
The defendants said in the objection that the charge, dated Dec. 11, 2017, contravened Sections 249, 252 and 77 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), No. 10, 2011.
The defendants said: “Section 249 of the ACJL stipulates that prosecutorial authority before the High Court of Lagos State shall be exercised only in the name of `The State of Lagos’.
“The Information/Charge No. ID/239C/2012 filed against the applicants does not comply with Section 249 of the ACJL as stated above.”
Opposing the application, EFCC counsel, Mrs Zainab Ettu, argued that the anti-graft agency did not require a fiat from the attorney-general of Lagos State to prosecute the case.
She urged the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that it lacked merit and constituted abuse of court processes.
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