Court Strikes Out Theft Charges Against Businessman
A Lagos Ikeja Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja has struck out a criminal charge filed against a businessman, Edward Akinlade, and his company, Suru Homes Limited, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, struck out the N1.7 billion 10-count charge against Akinlade following a letter of withdrawal exhibited before the court by his lead counsel Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN.
The anti graft agency arraigned Akinlade alongside his company, on alleged theft and issuance of dud cheques.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justice Taiwo, in her ruling, said that the case was at the discretion of the court and not of EFCC, following a letter dated June 1,“ titled: “Terms of Settlement”, formerly initiated by the complainant to settle with the defendant’’.
The letter of withdrawal was earlier tendered to court on June 17, by the defence counsel to herald amicable resolution of the matter in court.
“The prosecution counsel has informed the court that he is not aware of the resolution of this matter despite being copied with the letter of authority of withdrawal from the complainant and that he did not concede to the withdrawal of this case.
“He said he did not have the authority of his office to withdraw the case.
The judge however held that the matter is a civil case of stealing and issuance of dud cheque. “In the light of the foregoing, I hereby strike out this case and the defendant is accordingly discharged’’, the judge ruled.
Consequently, defence counsel, Mr Pedro SAN, informed the court of an application for striking out the case, based on letter of withdrawal by Fidelity Bank, the complainant in the suit.
“The copy of the letter has been filed before the court and same has been served on the EFCC.
“I rely on section 261 of ACJL of Lagos State and section 355 of ACJA that the defendant should be discharged.
“To also confirm the position my lord, we have a representative of the bank, Mr Chukwuebuka Nweka in the court,” Lawal said.
Nweka, a representative of the bank, confirmed to the court that the parties had settled and written to the EFCC over the dispute resolutions and asked the Commission to withdraw charges against the defendant.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Temitope Banjo, however, told the court that the commission was not carried along with the resolution.
“Pursuant to the complaint, EFCC carried out an investigation and it is quite unfortunate that we were not carried along with the resolution.
“I do not have the authority to withdraw the charges, I am leaving it at the discretion of the court,” Banjo said.