Ex-Kwara lawmaker loses bid to stop criminal trial
Efforts by a former lawmaker representing Molete constituency in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Mohammed Adebayo to stop the criminal proceedings brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin zonal office have failed, as the court, on February 6, dismissed his application.
The EFCC had in July 2019, arraigned the embattled foemer lawmaker on a six-count charge bordering on land scam before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of a Kwara State High Court, sitting in Ilorin.
One of the charges against him reads “That you, Mohammed Adebayo, sometimes in July 2013 in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud and obtained the sum of N950,000 from one Mary Omowunmi Kolade on the false pretence that three plots of land (situate at Malete, Moro local government area of Kwara State) which you told to her belonged to you, a representation you knew to be false punishable under Section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences.”
Adebayo pleaded not guilty to all the six count charges.
At the last adjourned date, defence counsel, I. Abdulazeez drew the attention of the presiding judge to a letter written by the nominal complainants in the case.
He said: “The nominal complainants have written a letter to the EFCC on their intention to withdraw their petition against Adebayo.” He prayed the court to strike out the case and discharge the defendant.
But the prosecuting counsel, Sesan Ola, opposed striking out the case, insisting that the EFCC is the complainant in the case.
“My Lord this application lacks merit, the nominal complainant is not known in law, EFCC is the complainant in this case, we have two witnesses in court; they are ready to testify. I want this honourable court to reject the application.”
In his ruling Oyinloye said: “This application lacks merit, it is only the Attorney General of the Federation that has powers to withdraw the charge not the nominal complainants or an accused person”
The judge described the steps taken by the defence counsel and nominal complainants as “very weird, uncanny and strange procedure in the administration of criminal justice system.”
The case has been adjourned February 16, 2020 for prosecution to open its case.