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Justice D.O Oluwayemi of the A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, on Thursday ordered that Personnel Assistant to Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Also to be remanded in the custody of the anti-graft agency is Mr. Olayinka Sanni, a manager with former Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) 

Justice D.O Oluwayemi had ordered they be remanded following the delay in the arraignment of Mr. Atoyebi and two others arrested by the EFCC over a N1.5billion scam.

revoked the bail granted the Personal Assistant to Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi, by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips and

The EFCC had Thursday arraigned the trio of Mr Olayinka Sanni, a former manager with Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi and a company, Sidaw Ventures before Justice Oluwayemi for arraignment on an eight count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and forgery amounting to about N1.5billion.

However, the arraignment was deferred owing to the denial of ownership of Sidaw Ventures by both the 1st (Olayinka Sanni) and 2nd (Oyebode Atoyebi) defendants.

EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the denial of ownership of Sidaw ventures by the two defendants should be looked into as it was the instrument used to steal the money necessitating their arraignment.

Mr. Oyedepo further drew the attention of the court to the fact that the photograph and telephone number of the 1st defendant was on the mandate of the account of Sidaw ventures.

But Mr. Abiodun Onidare, counsel to the 2nd defendant, objected to the issue raised by EFCC’s counsel saying that it was premature. He submitted that the defendants should be arraigned, in spite of the denial of the ownership of Sidaw ventures.

Justice Oluwayemi, however, prevailed on Mr. Oyedepo to choose between arraigning the defendants and resolving the preliminary objection.

The EFCC Counsel opted for the resolution of the preliminary objection.

Mr. Onidare then went ahead to present his application of preliminary objection basing his argument on Section 167 and 340 (3) of the criminal procedure Law of Lagos State 2003, Section 151 and Section 152 (1) and (2) of the Criminal Procedure Laws of Lagos State and Section 6(6) & 36 (5) & (6) (B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

He argued that charges proposed against the 2nd defendant; especially counts 1, 2 and 3 are incompetent, defective, null and void and that the amended charges are equally incompetent, defective, null and void. Besides, he argued that the court lacked “jurisdiction to arraign or take the plea of the 2nd defendant and to hear the amended charge or any pending charge” He also prayed the court to quash the amended charge or any pending charge and discharge the 2nd defendant forthwith”

Oyedepo objected to the preliminary objection application saying “the application is misconceived and that there are obvious contradictions in the affidavit. Your lordship will observe that in their preliminary objection, they alleged that prosecution did not have the fiat to prosecute stealing in Lagos State.”

Onidare, in his response, asked Oyedepo to present his objection in writing.

Justice Oluwayemi granted Onidare’s submission but revoked an earlier bail granted Atoyebi. She adjourned the case till January 25, 2013 and ordered that Atoyebi be remanded in EFCC custody. Sanni is till being held by the EFCC over investigations into other cases involving him. 

It would be recalled that the trio of Mr. Olayinka Sanni, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi and Sidaw ventures were recently arrested over a case of conspiracy, stealing and forgery amounting to about N1.5billion.

Mr. Sanni, a chartered accountant and operator of Sidaw Ventures, a bureau de change, was alleged to have fraudulently transferred various sums of money from more than seven customers of the former Intercontinental Bank into the account of Sidaw ventures owned and operated by him without the customers’ consent.

Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi, Personal Assistant to Mr. Ikuforiji was also arrested for allowing his passport-sized photograph and name to be used to open an account in Sidaw ventures limited in the name of Mr. Akanmu Babatunde. With this fictitious name, Mr. Sanni brokered many shady deals and duped many innocent people.

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