N5.2bn aviation scam: EFCC reopens ex-Minister Babalola Borishade’s case file

Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reopened the case file of a N5.2 billion scandal in the Ministry of Aviation, with hearing on the matter slated for February 14 after the Attorney General of the Federation would have been briefed.

Hearing on the suit filed by the EFCC against the former Minister of Aviation, Babalola Borishade, and four others before Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, was stalled on Wednesday, following a request by the AGF to be briefed about the matter.

Mr. Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and two others, allegedly mismanaged a N5.2 billion Aviation Safe Tower contract funds.

Others on trial for the alleged offence are former managing director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi; an Australian, George Eider, and Avsatel Communications Ltd.

The suspects were arraigned on November 19, 2009 by the EFCC on a 15-count charge of taking bribe and forging aviation contract documents.

Although both parties were present in court, Justice Umar informed them that the matter could not go on as planned as the AGF requested a brief on the case by the EFCC since the matter had been in court for about seven years.

He presented a letter dated February 2, 2016 from the AGF requesting for an adjournment of the case and records of court proceedings so far.

The counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, told the court that his hands were tied with regards to continuing the proceeding as the AGF being the chief law officer, had power over him.

According to Mr. Okoroma, “under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF has the power to take over, continue or discontinue a case”.

Counsel to the first defendant, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Regina Okotie-Eboh, representing the 4th and 5th defendants, who had initially sought a dismissal of the case, could not have their applications taken as a result of the letter from the AGF.

Justice Umar adjourned the case to February 17, 2016 for ruling and continuation of hearing, pending the decision of the AGF.

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