An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Monday adjourned ruling on an application for stay of proceedings filed by a former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others in an N11.5 billion fraud suit.
Mr Alao-Akala; Hosea Agboola, a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in the state; and Femi Babalola, an Ibadan-based businessman, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Muniru Owolabi adjourned ruling on the application till June 4 after listening to the arguments of both the prosecution and the defence counsel.
Mr Alao-Akala’s counsel, Hakeem Afolabi, had informed the court that there was a pending appeal on the suit before the Supreme Court.
Mr Afolabi said if the appeal at the Supreme Court succeeds, it would automatically terminate the proceedings at the lower court.
He also said that going ahead with the matter at the lower court would be oppressive and constitute an abuse of court process.
Mr Afolabi urged the court to allow stay of proceedings pending the determination of the matter at the Supreme Court.
Mr Babalola’s counsel, Richard Ogunwole, aligned with the submission of Mr Afolabi and urged the court to grant the application.
But EFCC counsel, Benedict Ubi, argued that allowing the application would violate the constitution and Section 40 of the EFCC Act, 2004.
Mr Ubi urged the court to refuse the application and allow proceedings to go on.
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 News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
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