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Regional News of Thursday, 2 December 2021

Source: www.sunnewsonline.com

Appeal Court discharges, acquits Akala, 2 others in Oyo on fraud charges

Alao Akala Alao Akala

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Thursday discharged and acquitted a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, over N11.5 billion corruption charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court of appellate jurisdiction also discharged and acquitted two other persons dragged to court with Alao-Akala by the anti-graft agency. They are former deputy Chief Whip of the senate, Senator Ayoola Agboola, who is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Council to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; and a business mogul, Mr Femi Babalola.

The second defendant/appellant in the case, Ayoola Agboola, served as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, when Alao-Akala was the governor between 2007 and 2011, while the third defendant/appellant, Femi Babalola, owns an engineering firm, Pentagon Engineering Services, that executed some contracts during the administration.

The litigation, which started 11 years ago, was concluded by a three-man panel presided over by Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada and had Justices Abba Muhammed and Abdulazeez Waziri as members. The three defendants/appellants were also physically present at the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Alao-Akala, and two others, had been arraigned by EFCC before an Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, and preferred 11 count-charge of 11.5billion fraud against the trio in 2012. The charges comprised conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from the illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.

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