Attempts by counsel to a former House of Representative member from Eti Osa Local Govwrnment area of Lagos State, Mr Anthony Akala and three others over their trial on alleged N240 million fraud, before a Federal High Court, was yesterday frustrated, as the court ruled that in a criminal matter, it is not for the defence to determine who represent the Attorney General of the Federation or the inspector General of police.
The court presided over by Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari, consequently ordered the defendants to commence the cross examination of the first prosecution witness since a member of the prosecution team was in court to continue with the trial.
The four accused persons are: Honourable Anthony Alaka, a.k.a General, a former member of the House of Representatives, representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency, Saidi Oke, Bashir Mohammed: and Alhaji Umar Ali.
The court had on the last trial date renewed its earlier bench warrant issued against Dr. Chukwuemeka Cyraicus Anyanwu, 50: Agboola Rasheed Gbade, 67: Nkechi Nwafor, 43: and Larry Balogun Otunba, 51, who were also mentioned in the charge.
While under cross examination from counsel to the first to third defendants, the witness, Austin Ugochukwu, who is the victim of the alleged fraud, told the court that he is a financial consultant and a broker of about two years experience.
Ugochukwu further confirmed that he never met the first to third defendants until June 14, 2017 when he met them at the Area J Police Station, Ajah, Lagos during police investigation.
When he was asked about the person that gave him the account number where he paid the money into, Austin said the account details was given to him by the second and fourth defendant who claimed to be owner and directors of Grantland Investment Limited
On how Austin get to know that the first defendant (Akala) owns the Ford truck and G-Wagon said to have been used in collecting the dollars from the Bureau De Change, the witness said that was the confession of Aliyu Ayuba to the police.
When further probed as to how he get to know that the Dollars are with ”General” , the witness said it is the second defendant who claimed that the dollars are with the ”General”.
Austin further told the court that the second and fourth defendant who claimed to be owners of Grantland Investment Limited, a BDC company, were the one that delivered the $29, 900 paid to him out of the S1,000,000 expected from them.
Meanwhile, the trial judge, Justice Rabiu-Shagari has adjourned the matter till July 2, for further trial.
The police in the amended charge marked FHC/L/327c/2017, alleged that the four suspects and others now at large, had on June 15, 2017, at Lekki area of Lagos State, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum of N312.2 million part of N359 million, from Austin Albert, under false pretence of selling to the complaint $1 million USD.
The police also alleged that the four after fraudulently receiving the money from the victim, converted same to their personal use.
The offences according to the prosecution, are contrary to sections 8(b) and 1(3) and punishable under sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.
All the accused however pleaded not guilty to the charge.
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