Law News
Court approves AGF’s support for Okorodudu’s trial

JUSTICE Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja  has ruled that the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) can withdrew a nolleprosequi application filed to discontinue criminal proceedings against the Managing Director of Cross-Country Limited, Mr. Bube Okorodudu.

This means that the court has given its nod that trial of Okorodudu should go on.

The judge in a bench ruling said that an applicant (AGF) has an unfettered liberty to withdraw his own application at anytime and that he needed not to file another application to ask for the withdrawal.

The AGF had earlier filed the application, instructing the court to discontinue with the prosecution of the defendant. But in a change of mind, the AGF decided to withdraw the application in order to allow the trial commence.

Okorodudu and his two companies, Cross Country Limited and Car Link Limited were charged for alleged N82.2m fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The defendants were alleged to have defrauded one AG Moeller Limited and Mr. Adeloye Olukemi through fraudulent sale of 17 units of Volkswagen transporter buses belonging to the complainants.

When the matter was last heard, a lawyer from the office of the AGF, Mr. Shitta Bay, informed the court that he had been instructed by Adoke to withdraw the application (nollyprosequi) dated October 29, 2014 earlier filed to take drop charges against defendants.‎

However, Okorodudu’s counsel, Mr. O. Atunbi in his response opposed to the withdrawal of the application added that the counsel did not give reasons for the withdrawal of the application.

Atunbi further argued that the court should not allow the AGF to withdraw the nolleprosequi as doing so was not in the best interest of justice, noting that if such withdrawal was allowed the office of the AGF might be brought into disrepute.

The company’s Counsel, Mr. Godswill Mrakpor, aligned himself with Atunbi’s submission except on the part bordering on the reputation of the AGF.

Mrakpor insisted that the AGF could not withdraw the nolleprosequi he had entered through a mere oral application, but the judge declined his prayers and held that the AGF should withdraw it.

As a result, Mrakpor sought to move a preliminary objection filed on behalf the defendants against the charge.

Okorodudu and his companies had filed the objection contesting that Lawal-Akapo lacked jurisdiction to preside over the case.

Justice Lawal-Akapo refused to listen to the application on the grounds that Okorodudu had been disobeying his orders.

The judge said in spite of the bench warrant court had issued against Okorodudu since July, he had still yet to appear before him. Added that even the security agents had not been assisting the court to do justice.

The judge therefore restated the earlier bench warrant he had issued against Okorodudu was still in force, ordered that he should be produced in court by the police on February 2, 2015 to take his plea.

Click here to read from source.