The absence of a key witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday stalled the trial of Kayode Odukoya, the Managing Director of First Nation Airline in Lagos.
Odukoya is being tried over an alleged N1.7 billion theft at an Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos.
Mr Anselm Ozioko, EFCC lead prosecutor, told the court that the anti-graft agency could not commence with the trial because its key witness (a staff of Skye Bank Plc) was not in court.
“This matter is for commencement of trial though I have two witnesses in court, I am afraid we may not be able to proceed this morning.
“Incidentally, the main representative of the bank that interfaced with the Commission has suddenly left the bank and he is the one that made statement to us.
“I didn’t know about this in time. I want the gentlemen (the two witnesses) to first volunteer statements, so it doesn’t appear we are ambushing anybody. We are very sorry, My Lord,” Ozioko said.
The EFCC prosecutor requested for an adjournment to enable him front load appropriate legal documents to Odukoya’s defence team.
Reacting, Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN), the defence counsel, raised an objection to EFCC’s request for an adjournment.
Akoni noted that the defence had been put through a lot of hardship caused by delays in the case which was filed in court by the EFCC in 2017.
Justice Mojisola Dada, however, obliged the EFCC’s request and adjourned the case until March 19 for commencement of trial.
The EFCC alleged that Odukoya committed the offences bordering on perjury, forgery, use of false document for the theft on March 21, 2013 in Lagos.
According to the EFCC, the defendant forged the Memorandum of Loss of Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered at the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa, in order that the document should be acted upon as genuine.
The forged document was in respect of a property located at 29, Oduduwa St., Ikeja GRA, Lagos.
Odukoya was alleged by the EFCC to have availed himself to false information on oath, concerning the loss of the certificate of occupancy
at the Lagos State Land Registry.
The anti-graft commission said that on Oct. 7, 2016, Odukoya stole and dishonestly converted to his own use N1.7 billion belonging to Skye Bank Plc.
EFCC said the offences violate Sections 85, 86(1) 278(1)(b), 285, 361(1),(a) (b), 363 and 364(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.