Alleged $32m fraud: Court adjourns trial of Princess Toyin Akolade

Ex-dep gov docked for allegedly being in possession of retiree’s C of O

Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, today adjourned till March 11 further hearing in the alleged $32 million fraud charge filed by the Attorney General of the Federation’s office against a Lagos socialite, Princess Toyin AKolade, and 10 others.

Justice Lifu adjourned the matter after both the prosecution and defence counsels had adopted their respective written addresses on whether or not to hear the charge first or the objection to the charge filed by the defendant’s lawyer.

It would be recalled that on the last adjourned date, Justice Peter Lifu asked counsel to both parties to address him on the contending issue of Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA and fixed today for the adoption of the written addresses.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, after counsel had informed the court that they had filed their respective addresses on the contending issue as directed by the court, they were given the go-ahead to adopt same and Justice Lifu consequently adjourned the matter till March 11 for ruling .

Justice Lifu had on December 3, last year raised the issue of Section 396 of ACJA and asked the counsels to address him on it when the defendant brought an application to quash the charge against her without first taking her plea before the court.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, had dragged 11 defendants before the court on charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of $32 million USD.

Other defendants are four India nationals – Prem Garg, Devashish Garg, Bhagwan Simgh Rawat and Mukul Tyagi, and two Britons – Marcus Wade and Andrew Fairie, said to be at large.

Also, four companies – Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, Wilben Trade Limited, Fisolak Global Resources Limited and Kannu Aditya India Limited – were also charged before the court on the alleged offences.

However, lawyer to Princess Akolade, Mr Dele Adesina SAN, filed a motion before the court on asking the court to quash the charge preferred against the 7th and 10th Defendants/Applicants.

In the alternative, he sought the court to strike out the names of the 7th and 10the defendants in the charge.

One of the reasons canvassed for that was that among other things, the charge and the proof of evidence failed to disclose any prima facie case and/or link or connect the 7th and 10th Defendants/Applicants to the commission of the alleged offences charged.