The Supreme Court on Friday ordered a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, to face the music by returning to the Federal High Court in Lagos and answer to the N5bn fraud charges aagainst him.
A five-man panel, led by Justice Tanko Muhammad, unanimously upheld the February 20, 2015, judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which had reversed the judgement of the Federal High Court.
Recall that Akingbola’s trial for fraud was shockingly terminated in April 2012 by Justice Charles Archibong, who struck out the charges.
Justice Archibong had in a judgment delivered on April 2, 2012 struck out the 26 counts contained in a charge numbered FHC/L/443C/2013 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Akingbola on the grounds that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case. He also described the EFCC prosecution team as a drain in the public purse and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation to disband the team.
Though that decision turned out to be his last on the bench, as he was sent into an early, compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council, NJC, follwing his outrageous judgement.
On Friday, Justice Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment of the apex court, was of the view that Akingbola’s appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s verdict lacked merit.
The Supreme Court therefore ordered that the case be remitted back to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos Division and be given “expeditions trial”.