Alao-Akala: Judge rejects EFCC’s private prosecutorEFCC Politics, Headlines, Oyo, State News Friday, May 25th, 2012
Fri, 05/25/2012 – 14:53
Justice Akintunde Boade of the Oyo State High Court yesterday in Ibadan said it was unconstitutional for the EFCC lead counsel, Chief Godwin Oblah, to engage a private prosecutor to represent him in court proceedings.
The judge was giving a ruling in the alleged N11.5 billion scam suit instituted by the commission against a former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Sen. Hosea Agboola and Mr Femi Babalola.
Oblah was on April 26 represented in court by Otunba Olayinka Bolanle, a move objected to by one of the defence counsel, Chief Mohammad Osman (SAN). Osman had told the court that Bolanle lacked the judicial power to appear as a prosecutor in the case, as only Oblah was given the fiat to prosecute the case by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
But Bolanle had argued that he had been appearing with Oblah and was qualified to hold forth for his principal. Delivering his ruling on the matter yesterday, Boade agreed with the defence counsel that Bolanle lacked the constitutional power to prosecute the accused persons as the fiat to prosecute was solely conferred on Oblah.
Boade held that Section 97 of the 1999 Constitution empowers the Attorney General to prosecute accused persons, adding that, he was the only one that could delegate the fiat to any other lawyer. “I do not believe that Chief Oblah can delegate the same power to a private practitioner, whether he has been appearing with him in a case or not,’’ he stated.
Oblah, who was in court, applied for extension of time to enable him reply to the application seeking to quash the charges against the accused persons.
Counsel to Alao-Akala, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), who did not object to the application, asked for at least seven days within which to have the application filed and replied to on point of law. Boade granted the oral application and adjourned the case till June 20 for adoption of written addresses.
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