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Court remands oil magnate, Akintoye Akindele in Kuje Prison in alleged $5.6m fraud suit

Justice James Omotosho, of the FCT High Court in a short ruling, ordered that Mr Akintoye Akindele, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Duport Midstream Company Limited, be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre over alleged $5.6m fraud pending the perfection of his bail.

 

Justice Omotosho, on Friday, thereafter, adjourned the matter until March 20 when the court will consider documents confirming the perfection of the bail earlier granted him.

The police, in the charge, accused Akindele and Duport Midstream Company Limited, of diverting the sum of $5,636,397.01, and N73,543,763.25, belonging to Summit Oil International Ltd.

Akindele and his company, which is the second defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/570/2023, were said to have committed the act between 2017 and 2021, when they allegedly converted the said sum received from Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited into personal use.

Justice Omotosho had, on March 1, admitted the businessman to bail in the sum of N750 million with two sureties in like sum.

He said the two sureties must own landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, must swear to an affidavit of means and deposit their statements of bank accounts with the court registrar.

Justice Omotosho in granting the bail, held that the defendant must meet all the conditions attached to the bail before or by March 8.

Justice Omotosho, who said that since the defendant came to court from his house, the court would permit him to continue to enjoy the bail of the FCT High Court till March 8, maintained that the defendant would be remanded if he failed to meet the conditions of the new bail by March 8.

He then and adjourned till March 15 for commencement of trial.

The development occured shortly after he was arraigned in a four-count charge preferred against him by the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police.

Upon resumed hearing on Friday, I-G’s lawyer, Mr Simon Lough, SAN, said though the matter was adjourned for trial and three of their witnesses were in court, he made an oral application for the matter to be transferred to FHC in Lagos.

Akindele’s lawyer, Chief James Onoja, SAN, opposed Lough’s oral application, stating that he planned to respond to the request.

Justice Omotosho also corrected the prosecutor on his oral application.

“Transfer is just not by oral application. There should be a motion on notice.

“There must be reasons for transfer and it must be by affidavit evidence and you will serve the other party for them to respond.

“If they agree with your reasons, that is that. But if they don’t agree, they have the right to say why it should not be taken to Lagos,” the judge said.

Lough, however, argued that Section 22 of the FHC Act allowed a judge to, suo motu, transfer a case to a division that had jurisdiction.

Justice Omotosho said that a court can suo motu transfer that was after listening to parties.

“It is not without the evidence of the other party,” he added.

On his part, Onoja reminded that the directive of the court in the last adjourned date was that the matter was adjourned for trial.

He said even though the prosecution was in court with their witnesses, they were still asking for case transfer.

“This is unfair to the defendant. The prosecution has exercised his right to file the charge here and now seeking transfer,” he said.

He said he was in court already prepared for trial despite being in touch with Lough who did not inform him of the development.

“The nature of this case is purely civil transaction. This matter had been investigated in Lagos and they found nothing.

“They filed this charge now and they are the ones asking for transfer,” he said.

Onoja then informed the court that Akindele’s bail had been perfected.

But the judge told him that the defendant’s bail perfection documents were not before him.

Onoja insisted that the documents were submitted to the court, urging one of the registrars to confirm that the documents were already in custody of the court.

Although the judge initially refused request to look into the documents, he later called for the file.

After perusing the file, he observed that the bail was not perfected before March 8 as ordered by the court.

According to Justice Omotosho’s observation, while the letter of introduction of the sureties was dated March 13, the affidavit of means was dated March 11, three days after the March 8, deadline for perfection.

“I bent backward based on the conditions of the earlier bail granted him but he did not meet it,” he said.

Akindele’s lawyer, however, prayed the court not to make an order sending his client to the correctional centre.

He said the defendant was indisposed.

The judge consequently ordered Akindele to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail.

He adjourned the matter until March 20 for consideration of the bail perfection and hearing on the application for transfer of the case to the Lagos division of the FHC.

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