The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today, re-arraigned a former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others in an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan over alleged N11.5bn fraud.
Reports have it that the other defendants are a former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Senator Hosea Agboola and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola.
The defendants are facing 11 counts bordering on conspiracy, awarding a contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.
EFCC’s counsel, Dr. B. Ubi, told the court that when Alao-Akala was the governor of Oyo State, he awarded a road contract worth N8.5bn between 2007 and 2009 to Pentagon Engineering Services.
Ubi alleged that the firm, owned by Babalola, handled the contract on behalf of the 33 local governments without budgetary provision.
The counsel further claimed that Alao-Akala ordered the supply of drilling machines on behalf of the 33 local governments in the state to the tune of N3.5bn.
He also alleged that Alao-Akala conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9bn from Oyo State Local Government Joint Account.
The prosecutor told the court that Alao-Akala also illegally acquired some property on Old Bodija road, off Rotimi Williams road, when he was the governor of the state.
He said the offences contravened Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Hakeem Afolabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Alao-Akala and Babaloa prayed the court to exercise its discretion in granting bail to the defendants.
Afolabi said the charge before the court was not a fresh one but a re-arraignment.
He said the matter was first filed on October 11, 2011 before Justice Moshood Abas and bail was granted after the defendants met the conditions.
The defendants had also appeared before Justice Akintunde Boade and Justice Bayo Taiwo who was recently transferred out of Ibadan Division.
Afolabi said that Alao-Akala was granted bail in the sum of N5m with two sureties in like sum; while the other defendants were granted bail in the sum of N3m each with two sureties in like sum.
Afolabi urged the court to allow the defendants to enjoy their earlier bail conditions.
Mr. Richard Ogunwole, another Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Ayoola, aligned with the submission of Alao-Akala’s counsel.
The EFCC’s counsel said he would not oppose the bail applications.
Justice Muniru Owolabi granted the defendants’ prayers and adjourned the case till April 16 for trial.