The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday arraigned prominent Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, for allegedly dealing in a landed property in defiance of a court order.
Adegboruwa was arraigned on one count alongside one Jonathan Udeagbala, said to be at large, before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
In the charge marked, FHC/L/181c/2016, presented before the court by its prosecutor, Idris Abdullahi, the EFCC claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala dealt in a property “lying, being and situate at House 105, Nicon Estate, Lekki, Lagos,” without the authorisation of the EFCC.
According to the anti-graft agency, the said property was a subject of litigation before Justice C.A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.
The EFCC claimed that on August 13, 2013, Adegboruwa and Udeagbala dealt with the property, in defiance of an order of interim injunction made by Justice Balogun on June 18, 2012, attaching the property.
The defendants were accused of leasing the property to one Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited in the sum of N61, 631, 944. 65, which the EFCC claimed was credited into Adegboruwa’s account with Zenith Bank.
The prosecutor claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala committed an offence punishable under Section 32(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
But upon reading the charge to him, Adegboruwa pleaded not guilty, following which his lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), urged the court to grant him bail on self recognition.
Etiaba assured the court that his client would neither jump bail nor interfere with the prosecution’s witnesses, noting that Adegboruwa was a man “who fights for the downtrodden.
“He is a parish pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church, Lekki branch, and by his calling, he ministers every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday.
“He runs a robust legal firm in Lekki, and I know as a matter of fact that about 50 per cent of the cases in his law firm are pro bono for indigent citizens,” Etiaba said.
The SAN stressed that there was no possibility that his client would interfere with the prosecution’s investigation, since the prosecution had already concluded its investigation, which it began in 2013.
In his ruling, Justice Oguntoyinbo, however said she was reluctant to admit Adegboruwa to bail on self recognition.
Rather, the judge granted him bail in the sum of N10m with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, the judge said, must be landed property owners in Lagos, whose bank account details and office and residential addresses must be verified by the court’s registrar.
While adjourning till June 13, 2016 for commencement of trial, Justice Oguntoyinbo ordered that Adegboruwa should be remanded in the custody of the EFCC pending the fulfillment of the conditions attached to the bail granted him.