The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, to return to the Federal High Court, Lagos, to face his trial on alleged N5 billion fraud charges.
The Apex Court gave the order after it dismissed Akingbola’s appeal challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal for lacking merit.
Akingbola’s trial was prematurely terminated in April 2012 by Justice Charles Archibong, whose decision in the case later earned him a compulsory retirement from the bench.
Delivering judgment on the appeal, the five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously affirmed the February 20, 2015, judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos which had overturned the Federal High Court’s decision striking out the charges.
The court accordingly ordered that the case be remitted to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos Division.
Justice Sidi Bage, who read the lead judgment of the apex court also ordered that the case be given accelerated hearing.
Recall that Justice Archibong (now retired) 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.
Justice Archibong in striking out the suit held that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case.
He had described the EFCC prosecution team as a drain in the public purse and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation to disband the team.
Based on the manner he handled the matter, he was compulsory retired by the National Judicial Council.