Spring Bank boss appeals court ruling on her mandatory appearance



Embattled Managing Director of Spring Bank Plc, Mrs. Olushola Ayodele has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, compelling her and her co-accused to appear before it on October 27, 2010 over alleged corrupt charges.


In the notice of Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal Lagos division, at the weekend, Ayodele is asking the appellate court to set aside the ruling and order of the lower court and her notice of preliminary objection be heard and determined before her arraignment, if need be.Justice Mohammed Idris had last week ordered the bank chief and five others to appear before it on October 27 to face an alleged N5. 208 billion fraud charge brought against them by the Federal Government.


The judge has held that the law is very clear on the presence of an accused person in court in a criminal trial, which according to him section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) states that an accused person must be present in court before the proceeding can commence.Spring Bank Plc, Mrs Olushola, Michael Ajamah, Lanre Odunlami, Awele Nwaboshi, Gladys Okebelama and  Olubukola Moradeyo were charged before the court by the office of the Attorney General of the Federal on a five counts charge of conspiracy to steal, obtaining by false pretence, forgery and accessory  after fact of stealing.


However, in the notice of appeal filed on her behalf by her counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), Ayodele contended that the trial judge erred in law when he misconstrued and misapplied the provision of section 215 of the CPA and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Alintah and the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2008) and thereby occasioned grave injustice.According to the accused person section 215 relates to the commencement of criminal trial and not applicable to situations where the accused has challenged the propriety of the criminal proceedings on grounds of abuse of court process.


The appellant also argued that the substance of her objection is that the criminal proceedings constituted in the charge is not bonafide since the ownership of the N5. 208 billion is subject to litigation and therefore not determined to be the property of Strand Capital Partners Limited, as alleged in the charge.She also maintained that the trial judge erred in law by failing to follow and apply the decision of the Court of Appeal in Fawehinmi and Attorney General of Lagos State (1989) as the facts and circumstances as contained in her objections are the very circumstances contemplated in the decision.


The appellant also argued that the trial judge also erred in law when he held that her physical appearance, before the hearing and determination of her motion on notice is mandatory stating that the motion is not the commencement of the criminal trial for which her presence is mandatory.The Spring Bank MD and her company were particularly charged with accessory after the fact of stealing of the sum of N5.2 billion being the property of Strand Capital Partners Ltd, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 519 and punishable under the Criminal Code, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.


Mrs. Ayodele was one of the seven managing directors appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on 2 October, 2009 to replace the sacked ones.She replaced Charles Ojo in Spring Bank.









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