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Appeal court acquits Alao-Akala of ‘N11.5bn fraud’

Appeal court acquits Alao-Akala of ‘N11.5bn fraud’
December 03
09:48 2021

The court of appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo, has discharged and acquitted Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor of the state, of alleged N11.5 billion fraud.

Alao-Akala and two other defendants, Hosea Agboola, a former Oyo commissioner, and Femi Babalola, an Ibadan-based businessman, were arraigned on an 11-count charge of conspiracy.

They were accused of “awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property,” among others.

They were first arraigned in 2012.

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The defendants had filed a no-case submission, causing Muniru Owolabi, trial judge at a high court in Ibadan, to strike out eight of the 11 count-charge.

The judge, however, ordered the defendants to enter defence for the remaining three counts which borders on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and award of contract without budgetary provision.

The decision of the trial court was appealed.

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On Thursday, a three-member panel of the appeal court unanimously set aside the ruling, on the grounds that the trial court erred by ordering the defendants to enter defence for the three counts because the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

Speaking to journalists after the judgment, Alao-Akala said: “We can always rely on the judiciary. They are the hope for the common man like me. So, we thank God for everything. God has settled everything, and so, let us forget about the number of years the case took.”

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