Courts says its forbidden to entertain such applications
A judge of the Lagos High Court, Lateefat Okunnu, on Thursday dismissed applications for stay of proceedings filed separately by three former directors of Finbank Plc.
The former directors – Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike – are being prosecuted alongside a former Managing Director of Finbank, Okey Nwosu.
They were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion belonging to Finbank (now FCMB).
Delivering her ruling, Ms. Okunnu held that Section 277 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, of Lagos State 2011 forbade her to entertain such applications.
“Section 277 of the ACJL states that an appeal for stay of proceedings shall not be entertained until judgment is delivered in a criminal matter.”
The judge said Section 277 was not contrary to the provisions of Section 13(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but complements it.
Ms. Okunnu said the purpose of the section was to ensure that criminal matters were determined and disposed off in a timely manner.
“I cannot find merit in these respective applications. Without any further ado, I hereby strike out each of the applications,” the judge said.
Earlier, counsel to the defendants, Seyi Sowemimo, Victor Ukutt and M. Abena, had asked the court to stay further proceedings of the matter.
They wanted the stay, pending the determination of their appeal filed against the court’s ruling on October 8, which dismissed their no-case submission for lacking in merit.
The EFCC counsel, Tayo Olukotun, while opposing the applications, said Section 273 of the ACJL prohibited the court from entertaining it.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss them in the interest of justice.
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