The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned the Managing Director of First Options Motors Company Ltd, Wali Olayiwola Akande, over an alleged N160million fraud. Akande and First Options Motors were docked before Justice Sybil Nwaka of a Lagos High Court in Igbosere. Th ey are standing trial on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and stealing, but pleaded not guilty.
The anti-graft agency said the defendants, with intent to defraud, conspired and obtained the sum in tranches of N100million, N30million, N20million and N10million. Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. S. O. Daji, told the court that the defendants committed the alleged off ences on January 27, March 1, 8, 12 and May 4, 2012.
He submitted that the first defendant, (Akande), persuaded a firm, Olam Nigeria Ltd, to hand over the sums as part payment for the purchase of 14.960 hectares of land at Flowergate Scheme, LagosIbadan Expressway, Ogun state, which according to him, was the property of another firm, Records Manufacturers Nigeria Ltd. The off ences, the prosecution said contravened sections 1(3) and 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Daji explained that the defendants were arraigned for the same alleged offences before Justice D. Oluwayemi on May 30, 2013. But following Justice Oluwayemi’s retirement three years later, the suit was transferred and is beginning de novo. “We have nine witnesses and we shall be asking for a trial date.
The case was formerly before another judge, who is now retired. I was not involved in that matter, but I understand that almost three years was spent cross-examining one witness,” Daji said. Reacting, the defence counsel, Prince Wale Oloke, faulted the anti-graft agency for the delay in the trial.
“I was in that matter and the EFCC’s excuse was that it was short-staff ed. For three years they were wasting time.” Oloke urged the court to allow Akande enjoy bail on the terms granted him by the previous court. Justice Nwaka granted the defendant bail at the defence instance and adjourned till December 19 for trial.