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N167.8m: Court discharges lawyer, Oyo State council official over alleged fraud

By Jimoh Babatunde

Justice E. A. Ashade of the Lagos State High court, sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square, has struck out a N167,886,591,60 theft charge preferred against them by the police against an Oyo State local government council official, Badmus Adesina, and a lawyer, Ibukunoluwa Konu.

Justice Ashade struck out the charge with No: LD/11439C/2020 and discharged Adesina and Konu after a Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) report stated they have no case to answer.

The police had claimed that the defendants stole N167,886,591,60 from the estate of the Late Godfrey Konu.

It alleged that they conspired to commit the offences of stealing, forgery and making of documents without authority between 2009 and 2019.

It was further claimed that the defendants forged a letter of attestation of marriage certificate purportedly issued by the Ibadan South-East Local Government Council of Oyo State and a letter titled, ‘Marriage Certificate’ issued by a magistrates’ court in Ibadan.

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The estate of the late Mr. Godfrey Kwashie Konu is being administered by the  Administrator General and Public Trustee of Lagos State and the alleged theft were payments made to Mr. Ibukun Konu’s mother as a beneficiary to the estate in her capacity as the first and legal wife of the late Mr. Kwashie Konu.

In a legal advice of November 23, 2020, the DPP, Mrs A.O. Adeyemi stated that no prima facie case was established against the defendants.

It noted that no document had been forged, adding that the issuance of the letter of attestation by Adesina was part of his duties.

Following the DPP’s advice, Justice Ashade struck out the charges against the defendants.

Ruling on the defendants’ application, Justice Ashade held: “The prosecution has not opposed the application, he equally submitted that the power of the police to prosecute is subject to the Attorney-General of Lagos State.

“In view of there being no opposition to the application by the defendants to be discharged upon striking out of the charge against them by the prosecution and position of law in the matter, I therefore, order that the charge against the defendants is hereby struck out for non-prosecution and the defendants are hereby discharged.”

Although the counsel holding watching brief on behalf of Tosin Josephine Konu (nominal complainant), who also is half sister of Ibukunoluwa Konu sought to make heavy weather about not being served with the legal advice, the court held that the nominal complainant is only entitled to be seen and not to be heard.

The court also admonished the nominal complainant to desist from recording court proceedings and ordered that the recordings that were taken at the proceedings be deleted from all their gadgets under the supervision of the court clerk.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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