N1.7bn fraud: Court fixes Oct 22 for ruling on First Nation Airways MD’s no-case submission

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Kayode Odukoya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Nation Airways Limited
Kayode Odukoya, Managing Director and CEO of First Nation Airways Limited

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, August 2, 2021, adjourned the no-case submission filed by Kayode Odukoya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Nation Airways Limited till October 22.

Mr Odukoya is being prosecuted for a N1.7bn fraud.

He is also standing trial alongside First Nation Airways Limited and Bellview Airlines Limited on a seven-count charge bordering on forgery, use of false document, perjury, stealing and obtaining credit by fraud contrary to sections 85(1), 86(1), 278(1)&(b), 285(1), 313(1)(a) &(b),361(1)(a)& (b),363 (1) and 364(1) of the criminal law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.

One of the counts reads: “Kayode Odukoya and First Nation Airways, on or about the 29th day of August, 2013 in Lagos, within the lkeja Judicial Division, by means of fraud, obtained the credit of N307,268,406.43 for yourselves from Skye Bank Plc (Now Polaris Bank Ltd) and made the bank to incur liability by presenting a Memorandum of Loss at Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered as No.33 at page 33 In Volume 1011 at the Lagos State Registry, Alausa, Ikeja In respect of property being and situate at No. 29 Oduduwa Street, lkeja GRA. Lagos State.”

Another count reads: “Kayode Odukoya, First Nation Airways Limited and Bellview Airlines Limited, on or about the 7th day of October, 2016 in Lagos within, the Lagos Judicial Division, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N1, 742,994,962.04 (One Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty-one Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty-two Naira, Four Kobo) property of Skye Bank Plc.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

At the resumed sitting today, the defence counsel, Edoka Onyeke, adopted the written address for his client.

While adopting the address, Onyeke said: “We urge this Honourable Court to uphold the same and dismiss the seven-count charge and to discharge the defendant.”

On his part, the prosecuting counsel, A.B.C. Ozioko, adopted the written address of the prosecution dated July 8, 2021.

Ozioko, while also adopting his address, argued that the no-case submission of the defence “is not whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.”

He further argued that there was “legally admissible evidence against the defendant to warrant him to enter his defence and to explain his role in the charge.”

“It is not just about loans, but loans obtained using forged documents, and has a criminal origin,” Ozioko added.

After listening to the arguments, the Judge adjourned till October 22, 2021 to deliver the ruling.