HomeCourt room newsAlleged $5.6m Fraud: Court Remands Oil Magnate, Akintoye Akindele in Kuje Prison...

Alleged $5.6m Fraud: Court Remands Oil Magnate, Akintoye Akindele in Kuje Prison Pending Bail Perfection

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Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the remand of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Duport Midstream Company Limited, Mr. Akintoye Akindele, at the Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja.
Akindele, will remain in custody till March 20, when the court will consider documents confirming the perfection of the bail granted him earlier.

Recall that the court had on March 1, admitted him to bail in the sum of N750 million with two sureties in like sum, shortly after he was arraigned on allegations bordering on fraud to the tune of $5.6 million.
Justice Omotosho in granting the bail, held that the defendant must meet all the conditions attached to the bail before or by March 8, and later adjourned till March 15, for commencement of trial.

Part of the conditions are that the two sureties, must own landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. In addition, the sureties who must swear to an affidavit of means are to also deposit their statements of account with the registrar of the court.
Justice Omotosho, who had held that because the defendant came to court from his house, the court will permit him to enjoy the bail of the FCT High Court, till March 8, maintained that the defendant will be remanded if he fails to meet the conditions of the new bail by March 8, 2024.
However, when the case came up for trial yesterday, prosecution lawyer, Mr. Simon Lough, SAN, attempted to make an oral application seeking the transfer of the case from the Federal High Court, Abuja, to the Federal High Court, Lagos.
According to him, the proper jurisdiction for the trial of the defendant is Lagos Division; being the jurisdiction the alleged offence occured, and all the witnesses as well as evidence are all in Lagos.

Although, Akindele’s lawyers led by Chief James Onoja, SAN, objected to the oral request made by the police, the court however, declined to take submissions from all parties, stressing that the issue of transfer is one that the prosecution must put into writing.

“Transfer is not by oral application, it has to come through affidavit evidence,” Omotosho observed, adding that the prosecution would besides filing the application, state the grounds for the transfer, serve same on the defendant, who will then either agree or object to the transfer, giving reasons why the court should not grant the request.

At this point, Justice Omotosho, who asked the lawyers to agree on a date for adjournment to enable the prosecution do the needful in respect of the transfer application, asked about the position of the bail granted the defendant.

“We submitted last week before the date given to us,”Akindele’s lawyers said.

“I have not seen it,” the judge responded.

But Onoja insisted that the documents were submitted to the court, urging one of the registrars to confirm that the documents are in custody of the court already.

Although the judge initially refused request to look into the documents, on grounds that the they were not before him, adding that up till “yesterday I asked for all pending files, I sat untill 5.30p.m., I didn’t see the file,”changed his mind after persuasion from the defense lawyer, who claimed that the defendant has some health challenge that may get worse if remanded.

He also urged the judge not to punish the defendant for the failure of the documents to get to him on time.

However, Justice Omotosho after perusing through the file observed that the bail was not perfected before March 8, as ordered by the court. According to his observation, while the letter of introduction of the sureties was dated March 13, the affidavit of means was dated March 11, three days after the March 8, deadline for perfection.

“I bent backwards based on the conditions of the earlier bail granted him but he did not meet it,” the court stated.

After plea by defendant’s lawyer to consider and extend the period for the perfection of the bail, Justice Omotosho then adjourned till March 20, for consideration of the bail perfection as well as hearing on the application for transfer of the case to the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

The judge held that in the main time, “the defendant shall be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center,” in Abuja.

In the four count charge brought against him by the office of the Inspector General of Police, the defendant was accused of diverting the sum of $5,636,397.01, and N73,543,763.25, belonging to Summit Oil International Ltd.

Akindele and his company, which is the second defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/570/2023, were said to have committed the act between 2017 and 2021, when they allegedly converted the said sum received from Shell into personal use.

Count one of the bail reads: “That you Akintoye Akindele male 49 years MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate Ikoyi Lagos and Duport Midstream Company Limited of 42 Alexander Avenue Ikoyi Lagos between October, 2017 and November, 2021 in Lagos state within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while acting in concert conspire together to commit felony to wit: Stealing by conversion of the sum of $ 5,636,397.01 Million USD and N73,543,763.25, you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 516 of the Criminal Code law, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

Count two: “That you Akintoye Akindele male 49 years MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate Ikoyi Lagos and Duport Midstream Company Limited of 42 Alexander Avenue Ikoyi Lagos between October, 2017 and November, 2021 in Lagos state within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while acting in concert Stole by dishonest conversion to your use the sum of the sum of $ 5.636,397 01 Milton USD and N73,543,763 25 property of Summit Oil International Limited, you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 387 and Punishable under section 390 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

While count three: “That you Akintoye Akindele male 49 years MD CEO of Duport Medstream Company Umited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate Ikoyi Lagos and Duport Midstream Company Limited of 42 Alexander Avenue Ikoyi Lagos between October, 2017 and November, 2021 in Lagos wiithin the jurisdiction of this honourable court while acting in concert Stole the sum of $5, 636,397.01 Millon USD and N73 543,763.25 property of Summit Oil International Limited, which you received from Shell Western Supply and trading limited under direction to transfer same to Summit Oil International Limited, you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 385 and punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

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