The Nigerian Supreme Court has ordered Erastus Akingbola, a former managing director of the Intercontinental Bank Plc (now bought over), to return to the Federal High Court in Lagos to face his trial on N5 billion fraud charges.
The Punch reports that Justice Sidi Bage read the lead judgment of the court ruling that Akingbola’s appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s verdict lacked merit.
Justice Bage then ordered that the case be re-admitted to the Federal High Court and handled by another judge in the Lagos division and be given ‘expeditious trial’.
The report noted that Justice Archibong, who is now retired, had in a judgment delivered on April 2, 2012, struck out the 26 counts contained in a charge numbered FHC/L/443C/2013 and filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Akingbola on the grounds that the prosecution was not diligent in the handling of the case.
According to the report, the judge had described the EFCC prosecution team as a drain in the public purse and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to disband the team.
The judge later suffered compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council (NJC) as a result of his alleged handling of the case.
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“Commenting on the conduct of the judge in the case, a member of the apex court’s panel, Justice Kumai Akaahs, noted in his contribution that Justice Archibong acted like a military dictator,” the report said adding that the judge said adding that Archibong ‘descended into the arena’ and displayed his bias.
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