A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, dismissed an application filed by Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking transfer of criminal charge against them to Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Adeseun and Olanrewaju are standing trial on alleged N650 million fraud, alongside a former Minister Federal Capital Authority, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The three defendants are chieftains of Oyo State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Hassan Sule who presided over the court, after perusing the applications and the counter-affidavit filed by the EFCC, declared that the applications is lacking in merit and dismissed same accordingly.
The two PDP chieftains had filed the applications through their lawyers, Mr. Michael Lana and Akinola Ayodeji, on the ground that every ingredients of the alleged case took place in Ibadan. And that they have over 65 witnesses who are spread across nine local government areas of their Senatorial district to testify in the matter, this they said would cost them lot of money to bring them to Lagos.
However, the prosecuting agency, EFCC, through its lawyer, Nnaemeka Omewa, had urged the court to dismiss the applications for been unmeritorious.
Omewa had told the court that the defendants’ rights of being charged in a court within 40km radius of where the alleged offence was committed has been upheld with the filing of a charge against them at a Federal High Court in Ibadan.
He added they were also duly arraigned at a Federal High Court in Ibadan before Akinjide’s petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul-Kafarati, led to the transfer of the case to Lagos.
He also told the court that Section 98 (1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) equally forbids the Chief Judge from transferring a case in which the prosecution has already called witness. He therefore urged the court dismiss the motions and continue with the hearing of the case.
After dismissing the applications, Akinjide’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, (SAN) informed the Court of his client’s intention to return her international passport to the Court’s registry, which was earlier released to her on July 6, 2017.
Ayorinde (SAN) told the court that passport released to his client had expired and a new one has been obtained and urged the court to admit the new passport, as one of the bail conditions granted Akinjide.
The three defendants were on January 16, 2018, re-arraigned by the EFCC before Justice Hassan on a 24-count amended charge of alleged N650 million fraud.
Further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till December, 10, 17 and 18, 2018 for continuation of trial within trial.