June 23, 2024

Alleged N1.7bn fraud: Court adjourns First Nation MD Kayode Odukoya’s case till May 4

Alleged N1.7bn fraud: Court adjourns First Nation MD Kayode Odukoya’s case till May 4

Glory Ebomah

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, further adjourned till Thursday, May 4, 2023, for the adoption of final written addresses in relation to the alleged N1.7 billion fraud case involving the Chief Executive Officer of First Nation Airways Limited, Kayode Odukoya.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Odukoya alongside First Nation Airways Limited and Belleview Airlines Limited on a seven-count charge bordering on forgery, use of a false document, perjury, stealing and obtaining credit by fraud, contrary to Section 85(1), 86(1), 278 (1) & (b), 285(1), 313(1)(a) &(b), 361(1)(a) & (b), 363 (1) and 364(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.

One of the counts reads: “Kayode Odukoya and First Nation Airways, on or about the 29th day of August 2013 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, by means of fraud, obtained the credit of N307,268,406.43 for yourselves from Skye Bank Plc (Now Polaris Bank Ltd) and made the bank to incur liability by presenting a Memorandum of Loss at Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered as No.33 at page 33 in Volume 1011 at the Lagos State Registry, Alausa, Ikeja in respect of property being and situate at No. 29 Oduduwa Street, Ikeja GRA. Lagos State.”

Another count reads: “Kayode Odukoya, First Nation Airways Limited and Bellview Airlines Limited, on or about the 7th day of October 2016 in Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N1, 742,994,962.04 (One Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty-one Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty-two Naira, Four Kobo) property of Skye Bank Plc.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of trial.

The prosecution, before closing its case on November 30, 2020, had called five witnesses and tendered several documents to prove the case against the defendants.

However, the defendant, through his counsel, E.D. Onyeke, had applied for a no-case submission, which was subsequently dismissed by the trial judge on January 11, 2022, as he was ordered to open his defence.

The defendant, thereafter, took to the dock to defend himself.

Following the conclusion of his defence, Justice Dada, on November 9, 2022, adjourned the matter till March 8, 2023, for the adoption of final written addresses.

At today’s proceedings, Onyeke informed the court that there was a delay in filing the final written address for the defence.

“My lord, I must apologise, as there was a delay on our part in filing the final written address of the defence,” he said.

He further noted that the prosecution would need time to reply.

According to him, an affidavit of facts was filed by the defence, which he said also contributed to the delay.

“Count three is no longer in the charges, as it was dismissed at the Court of Appeal; so, we didn’t respond to it,” he added.

Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, confirmed late receipt of the final written address.

“The final written address was served on the prosecution on the 3rd of March 2023.

“It is a 54-page document and obviously we will need adequate time to respond,” he said.

Justice Dada adjourned till Thursday, May 4, 2023 for the adoption of final written addresses.

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