The trial of a former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others for alleged N11.5billion fraud was on Friday stalled, due to the absence of the prosecution witnesses.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Alao-Akala; ex-Commissioner for Local Governments, Hosea Agboola; and a businessman, Femi Babalola.

Justice Olalekan Owolabi of the Oyo State High Court had on January 16 issued witness summons to an official of the EFCC, Muhammed Goji and six others.

Others summoned by the court are officials from the Oyo State Ministry of Finance, Olutoyin Akanmu, Florence Oyebanji, Adebayo Bankole, Ademola Ojo, amongst others.

EFCC’s counsel, Benedict Ubi, told the court that he was only able to serve three out of the seven witnesses.

He said one of the officials served could not appear because he had a case to attend to.

The counsel said that he did not receive any response from the two others who are officials of the Oyo State Ministry of Finance and Local Government and Chieftaincy matters served with the summons.

Ubi said all attempts to serve the remaining four prosecution witnesses was fruitless and therefore could not proceed with the hearing of the case and prayed the court for an adjournment.

Alao-Akala and Agboola’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, said that the prosecution has treated the defendants and court unfairly and the proceedings turned into persecution.

Fagbemi said that this was the ninth time that the prosecution would be seeking an adjournment since the beginning of the case in 2011.

Justice Olalekan Owolabi frowned at the action of the prosecution.

Owolabi granted the prayer of the prosecution for an adjournment for the last time and adjourned the case until February 28 for the continuation of hearing.

The defendants are facing 11-count of conspiracy, fraud, awarding contract without budgetary provision, acquiring property with money derived from illegal activities, among others.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

(NAN)

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