The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday brought charges of fraud against Mr. Bamidele Oloyelogun, Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, before the state High Court in Akure.
Oloyelogun was charged alongside Mr. Felemu Bankole, a lawmaker for Akoko South-West Constituency 2, and Mr. Segun Bankole, a member of the Assembly staff.
The defendants argued that the EFCC lacked the authority to bring charges against them because the assets they were being tried for belonged to the state, but the court ruled that the anti-graft commission had the authority to look into and bring charges against the defendants for the alleged fraud. The defendants’ preliminary objection was dismissed at the last hearing of the case.
The defendants were arraigned before the court on two counts bothering on fraud. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
Kingsley Kudus, the EFCC’s legal representative, asked the court to remand the defendants to prison custody during the trial on Tuesday. He said that despite their plea of not guilty to the charge, the defendants were still in the court’s custody during the proceeding.
Femi Emodamori, the defendants’ attorney, requested that the court reject the EFCC’s request for remand but noted that the defendants’ administrative bail application was still pending.
Additionally, he argued that the Speaker, the second defendant, was ill and required immediate medical attention.
Emodamori also requested that the court issue a warning to the nominal complainant (the former Deputy Speaker, Iroju Ogundeji) in the case for allegedly sending messages to the Speaker in an effort to annoy him. Emodamori further threatened legal action against Ogundeji if he did not stop sending messages to the Speaker. He asserted that Ogundeji’s treatment of his client was unlawful.
Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye delayed the case until May 18, 2023 so that the trial could be properly heard. In his order, he requested the defendants to continue enjoying their administrative bail until the next hearing.