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Police insist on trial of oil magnate Akindele on alleged $5.7m fraud

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A few days after an oral application to withdraw bribery charges against the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Duport Midstream Company Limited, Akintoye Akindele, the Police on Tuesday made a U-turn before Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and stated its decision to proceed with the trial.

Akindele is standing trial on a count charge of bribing a police officer to compromise his investigation on the alleged diversion of the sum of $5,636,397.01, belonging to Summit Oil International Ltd.

At the last proceedings, the police had applied orally to withdraw the alleged N150 million bribery case (marked CR/595/2023) against the Duport Midstream Company Limited boss.

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The trial judge had declined and ordered the prosecution to put the application in writing, adjourning until December 12 to hear the motion for withdrawal.

DAILY POST recalls that at the last sitting, while Akindele’s lawyer did not oppose the application for withdrawal of the charge, he urged the court to discharge and acquit his client. However, counsel to Summit Oil International Ltd. (the complainant), Bankole Akomolafe, SAN, vehemently opposed the application on the ground that no reason was given for the strange attempted withdrawal by the police.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecution, represented by Godwin Titus Nev, stated: “We are pleased to inform the court that having reviewed the facts of this case, we shall not be withdrawing the charge again. We want to ask for a date for trial of the accused person.”

Responding, counsel for the defendant, Mrs Funmi Quadri, SAN, sought the court’s permission to move an application seeking the release of the defendant’s international passport to enable him to travel abroad for medicals.

According to Quadri, the defendant has a leg problem that cannot be treated in Nigeria and has been scheduled abroad for a six-week medical.

The senior lawyer who asked the court to grant the application assured that her client would not jump bail and would return to the country to continue his trial.

Although the prosecution opposed the release of Akindele’s international passport because the defendant is facing another charge at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Osho-Adebiyi, in a ruling said that she was convinced from the grounds presented by the defendant that he needs to proceed abroad for medicals.

The judge, however, held that the passport would be released on the grounds that the defendant must produce two sureties who must deposit their international passport before the court and also write an undertaking to be held responsible if the defendant does not return to the country to continue his trial.

According to the court, while one of the sureties would be the defendant’s wife in Nigeria, the other is any of his siblings who share the same surname as him.

She stated that the sureties’ passports would be returned to them immediately after the defendant returned to the country.

She subsequently adjourned until February 28, 2024, for hearing.

The one-count charge before the FCT High Court reads: “That you Akintoye Akindele, male, 49 years, MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos between 5th and 9th August 2023 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court while being investigated by SP Ibrahim Ezekiel Sini and team on a petition submitted to the Inspector General of Police FIB by Summit Oil International Ltd on allegation of diversion of the sum of $5,636,397.01 and N73,543,763.25, you offered gratification of N150,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) and made part payment of N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) to SP Ibrahim Sini, a public servant in circumstance and for the purpose of allowing you to escape abroad and to write a report in your favour and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 118 of the Penal Code Law.”

At the Federal High Court in Abuja, Akindele is facing a four-count criminal charge bordering on alleged diversion of funds related to Summit Oil’s $5.7 million.

In the four-count charge, marked FHC/ABJ/OR/570/2023, Akindele was accused of theft, acting in concert to steal, conspiracy to commit felony and dishonest conversion, contrary to sections 516, 387, 385, and 388, and punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Police insist on trial of oil magnate Akindele on alleged $5.7m fraud

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