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‘N11.5bn fraud’: You have case to answer, court tells Alao-Akala

‘N11.5bn fraud’: You have case to answer, court tells Alao-Akala
July 15
18:06 2021

A high court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo state, has ordered Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor of the state, to enter his defence in a case of alleged N11.5 billion fraud.

Alao-Akala and two other defendants, Hosea Agboola, former Oyo state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters, and Femi Babalola, an Ibadan-based businessman, had filed a no-case submission on the charges levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The defendants are facing an 11-count charge of conspiracy, “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.

The EFCC had re-arraigned the defendants in 2018.

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According to the anti-graft agency, when Alao-Akala was governor, he awarded a road contract worth N8.5 billion to Pentagon Engineering Services.

The anti-graft agency said the firm, owned by Babalola, handled the contract on behalf of the 33 local governments without budgetary provision.

Alao-Akala was said to have ordered the supply of drilling machines on behalf of the 33 local governments in the state to the tune of N3.5 billion.

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The former governor was also alleged to have conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9 billion from the Oyo state local government joint account.

The prosecution agency also alleged that Alao-Akala illegally acquired some property on old Bodija road, off Rotimi Williams road, Ibadan, when he was the governor of the state.

The defendants, however, filed a no-case submission after the EFCC closed its case.

In his ruling on Thursday, Olalekan Owolabi, the judge, held that the defendants need to enter defence on the alleged charges of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences and award of contract without budgetary provision.

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Owolabi, however, discharged the former governor on the charges of acquiring property with money allegedly derived from an illegal act and concealing ownership of such property.

The judge said the witnesses called by the prosecutor failed to link evidence to the acquired property, adding that EFCC also failed to prove genuine ownership of the property.

The case has been adjourned till October 14 for the defendants to open their defence.

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