The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today re-arraigned a former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others in an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan over alleged N11.5bn fraud.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the other defendants are a former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Senator Hosea Agboola; and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola.
The defendants are facing 11 counts bordering on conspiracy, awarding a contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.
EFCC’s counsel, Dr. B. Ubi, told the court that when Alao-Akala was the governor of Oyo State, he awarded a road contract worth N8.5bn between 2007 and 2009 to Pentagon Engineering Services. Ubi alleged that the firm, owned by Babalola, handled the contract on behalf of the 33 local governments without budgetary provision.
The counsel further claimed that Alao-Akala ordered the supply of drilling machines on behalf of the 33 local governments in the state to the tune of N3.5bn. He also alleged that Alao-Akala conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9bn from Oyo State Local Government Joint Account. The prosecutor told the court that Alao-Akala also illegally acquired some property on Old Bodija road, off Rotimi Williams road, when he was the governor of the state.
He said the offences contravened Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act. The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Mr. Hakeem Afolabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Alao-Akala and Babaloa prayed the court to exercise its discretion in granting bail to the defendants.
Afolabi said the charge before the court was not a fresh one but a re-arraignment. He said the matter was first filed on October 11, 2011 before Justice Moshood Abas and bail was granted after the defendants met the conditions.
Justice Muniru Owolabi granted the defendants’ prayers and adjourned the case till April 16 for trial.