Akinlade, Suru Homes Floors EFCC As Court Acquit Him of N1.7bn Fraud

Reprieve has come the way of Lagos based businessman, Edward Akinlade, as an Ikeja Special Offences Court, has thrown out the criminal litigation preferred against him and his company, Suru Homes Limited, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, struck out the N1.7 billion 10-count charge against Akinlade following a letter of withdrawal exhibited before the court by his lead counsel Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN.

The anti graft agency arraigned Akinlade alongside his company, on alleged theft and issuance of dud cheques.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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Justice Taiwo, in her ruling, said that the case was at the discretion of the court and not of EFCC, following a letter dated June 1,“ titled: “Terms of Settlement”, formerly initiated by the complainant to settle with the defendant’’.

The letter of withdrawal was earlier tendered to court on June 17, by the defence counsel to herald amicable resolution of the matter in court.

“The prosecution counsel has informed the court that he is not aware of the resolution of this matter despite being copied with the letter of authority of withdrawal from the complainant and that he did not concede to the withdrawal of this case.

“He said he did not have the authority of his office to withdraw the case.

“However, on the authority of FRN v Onnogen, the Supreme Court held that the complainant can withdraw his matter in any case that is not criminal such as murder and armed robbery without the consent of the state or EFCC as the case may be.

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“This is a civil case of stealing and issuance of dud cheque. In the light of the foregoing, I hereby strike out this case and the defendant is accordingly discharged’’, the judge ruled.

Consequently, defence counsel, Mr Pedro SAN, informed the court of an application for striking out the case, based on letter of withdrawal by Fidelity Bank, the complainant in the suit.

“The copy of the letter has been filed before the court and same has been served on the EFCC.

“I rely on section 261 of ACJL of Lagos State and section 355 of ACJA that the defendant should be discharged.

“To also confirm the position my lord, we have a representative of the bank, Mr Chukwuebuka Nweka,” Lawal said.

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Nweka, a representative of the bank, confirmed to the court that the parties had settled and written to the EFCC over the dispute resolutions and asked the Commission to withdraw charges against the defendant.

The EFCC counsel, Mr Temitope Banjo, however, told the court that the commission was not carried along with the resolution.

“Pursuant to the complaint, EFCC carried out an investigation and it is quite unfortunate that we were not carried along with the resolution.

“I do not have the authority to withdraw the charges, i am leaving it at the discretion of the court,” Banjo said.

The EFCC counsel, however, confirmed to the court that it was on record that the head of the commission, head of legal and himself had the copy of the letter of withdrawal.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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