N1.7bn Theft: 1st Nation Airline’s MD, Loses Bid To Stop Prosecution

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Efforts by the embattled former Managing Director of First Nation Airlines, Mr Kayode Odukoya, to stall his prosecution over alleged N1.7 billion fraud, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, failed yesterday, as the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, dismissed his application to quash the charges.
Consequently, Justice Dada has ordered that Odukoya must face his trial for over alleged theft charges proffered against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
At the resumed proceedings today, Justice Dada, in a ruling dismissed a preliminary objection dated April 30, filed by Odukoya’s defence team seeking to quash the charges.
“The totality of the preliminary objection fails and is hereby dismissed.
“The proper parties are before the court and the application is a time wasting device. I so hold,” Justice Dada ruled.
Following the court’s ruling, Mrs Zainab Ettu, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC told the court that nine prosecuting witnesses are to testify against the airline boss.
“We will be asking the court for trial dates,” Ettu said.
Justice Dada fixed Nov. 7, 8 and 9 for Odukoya’s trial.
Odukoya’s defence counsel, Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN) had on June 29, in a preliminary objection, prayed for an order of the court striking out the charge.
The application was supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit had sought an Order quashing or striking out the charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  dated December 11, 2017, for want of jurisdiction.
The defendants in the application said the EFCC charge contravenes the provisions of Sections 249, 252 and 77 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law No. 10 2011.
According to the defence: “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, the EFCC in an 18-paragraph affidavit dated June 19,  argued that the EFCC did not require a fiat from the Attorney-General of Lagos State to prosecute the matter.
The anti-graft agency urged the court to dismiss Odukoya’s application on the grounds that it lacked merit and was an abuse of process of the court.
The EFCC is prosecuting Odukoya alongside FirstNation Airways and BellView Airlines on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, use of false document, perjury and stealing.
Odukoya allegedly committed the offences of forgery, use of false document and perjury on March 21, 2013.
According to the  EFCC, the defendant forged the Memorandum of Loss of Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered as No. 33 at page 33 volume 1011 at the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa, Lagos, in order that the document be acted upon as genuine.
The forged document was in respect of a property located at No. 29, Oduduwa St., Ikeja GRA, Lagos.
Odukoya is alleged by the EFCC to have 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.
The anti-graft agency also alleges that on Oct. 7, 2016, Odukoya stole and dishonestly converted to his own use N1.7 billion belonging to Skye Bank.
The offences violate Sections 85, 86(1) 278(1)(b), 285, 361(1),(a) (b), 363 and 364(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

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