Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court Friday said that Kayode Odukoya, Managing Director of First Nation Airline, has a case to answer in the alleged N1.7bn theft charge proffered against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
The airline’s operating licence has since been suspended by the aviation authorities.
Mrs Dada in a ruling on Friday dismissed a preliminary objection dated April 30, filed by Odukoya’s defence team, seeking to quash the charges.
“The totality of the preliminary objection fails and is hereby dismissed.
“The proper parties are before the court and the application is a time wasting device. I so hold,” Mrs Dada ruled.
Following the ruling, Zainab Ettu, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC informed the court that nine prosecuting witnesses have been lined up to testify against the airline boss.
“We will be asking the court for trial dates,” Mrs Ettu said.
Mrs Dada fixed Nov. 7, Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 for start of Odukoya’s trial.
Odukoya’s counsel, Olawale Akoni, had in a preliminary objection, prayed for an order of the court to strike out the charge against him.
The application, supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit had sought an order quashing or striking out the charges filed by the EFCC, dated Dec. 11, 2017, for want of jurisdiction.
The defendants in the application said the EFCC charge contravened the provisions of Sections 249, 252 and 77 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), No. 10 of 2011.
According to the defence: Section 249 of the ACJL stipulates that prosecutorial authority before the High Court of Lagos State shall be exercised only in the name of `the state of Lagos.’
“The information/charge No. ID/239C/2012 filed against the applicants does not comply with Section 249 of the ACJL as stated above.”
Opposing the application however, the EFCC in an 18-paragraph affidavit, dated June 19, argued that the EFCC did not require a fiat from the attorney-general of Lagos State to prosecute the matter.
The anti-graft agency urged the court to dismiss Mr Odukoya’s application on the ground that it lacked merit and was an abuse of process of court.
The EFCC is prosecuting Odukoya alongside First Nation Airways and Bellview Airlines on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, use of false document, perjury and stealing.
Odukoya allegedly committed the offences of forgery, use of false document and perjury on March 21, 2013.