The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tuesday re-arraigned former Managing Director of defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola and his former aide, Bayo Dada, before an Ikeja High Court for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.
But counsel to the duo (Akingbola and Dada), Mike Igbokwe (SAN) and Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), respectively, have condemned the recent arrest and detention of their clients by EFCC.
At yesterday's proceedings, Igbokwe informed the court that the anti-graft commission by its action constituted itself to be the complainant, prosecutor, and even the judge.
He said instead of the arrest and detention of his client, EFCC could have asked the court to summon him if he refused to show up for the re-arraignment.
Osipitan while aligning himself with Igbokwe also described EFCC's action as prejudicial and cheap blackmail.
But EFCC counsel, Chief Godwin Obla, told the court that their arrest and detention were for fresh interrogation and not because of the re-arraignment.
He also prayed the court for accelerated hearing after agreeing with the defence that the matter would have to start afresh.
The re-arraignment was necessitated by the elevation of former trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, to the Court of Appeal.
The commission had earlier arraigned the duo on a 22-count charge rather than the initial 29-count charge bordering on theft before Justice Habeeb Abiru, before the latter was elevated to the Appeal Court.
The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges bordering on stealing and fraudulent conversion of money. Justice Onigbanjo ruled that they should continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Justice Abiru.
The judge adjourned the matter till July 10 for fresh commencement of trial.
The EFCC had alleged that Akingbola, and Dada, who was the General Manager of Tropics Finance Limited a firm allegedly owned by Akingbola connived to steal the sum of N47.1billion belonging to the bank while he (Akingbola) was the Managing Director of the said bank.
Justice Abiru had granted Akingbola bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum. While Dada was granted bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must be resident in Lagos and must own landed properties which should be verified by an official of the Lagos State Land Registry.
The court also barred Akingbola and Dada from traveling abroad without its express permission, pending the hearing and determination of the case.