The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has charged the MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited, Akintoye Akindele, to court for alleged fraud.
However, in a twist of events, the police moved to withdraw the N150million bribery case against the Lagos businessman.
The request for withdrawal of the bribery case came on the day the police handed Akindele a four-count charge bordering on fraud to the tune of $5.7million.
The criminal charge marked CR/595/2023 came up before Honourable Justice M. Osho-Adebiyi, Court 20, Gudu Division of the Federal Capital Territory High Court at the resumed trial on Tuesday, the 5th December, 2023.
The one count against Dr Akintoye Akindele, the Defendant, read as follows:
“That you Akintoye Akindele, male, 49 years, MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos between 5th and 9th August 2023 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court while being investigated by SP Ibrahim Ezekiel Sini and team on a petition submitted to the Inspector General of Police FIB by Summit Oil International Ltd on allegation of diversion of the sum of $5,636,397.01 Million USD and N73,543,763.25, you offered gratification of N150,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) and made part payment of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) to SP Ibrahim Sini, a public servant in circumstance and for the purpose of allowing you to escape abroad and to write a report in your favour and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 118 of the Penal Code Law.”
However, during the court proceedings on Dec. 5, the Police prosecutor stunned the courtroom by applying to withdraw the charge against Mr. Akintoye Akindele in the bribery case.
Responding, Mr. Akindele’s lawyer supported the prosecution’s application for withdrawal of the charge and also requested the discharge and acquittal of his client – a move that reportedly “raised eyebrows, considering that the case had not been tried and seemed to beg the question of what could be going on behind the scenes”.
However, B.J. Akomolafe, SAN, representing Summit Oil International Ltd (the Complainant), vehemently opposed the application of the police to withdraw the charge on the grounds that no reason was given for the strange attempted withdrawal by the Police.
Reacting, the trial judge, Hon. Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, remarked that, in her two decades in the legal profession, she had never encountered such a situation. Consequently, she directed the prosecution to file a formal application, providing written reasons for the withdrawal.
The case has now been adjourned to Tuesday, December 12, 2023, for the hearing of written applications for and against the withdrawal of the bribery charge.
The abrupt adjournment was granted, citing Mr. Akindele’s health concerns. Mr. Akindele appeared in court, limping and moving with the aid of a walking stick.
On the same day, the police served Dr. Akintoye Akindele with the charges filed in the substantive case of fraud and criminal diversion of funds related to Summit Oil’s $5.7 million, in Case No. FHC/ABJ/OR/570/2023.
In the count charge sheet, Akindele was accused of theft, acting in concert to steal, conspiracy to commit felony to wit and dishonest conversion contrary to sections 516, 387, 385 and 388, a punishable offence under section 390 of the Criminal Code law, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Investors interested in the fraud case said in a statement: “As the legal drama unfolds, questions abound about the motivations behind the withdrawal request and the true state of Mr. Akindele’s health. It is certainly hoped that the strange and unprecedented last minute withdrawal request isn’t evidence of sinister background dealings or underground pressures. The next hearing promises further revelations, leaving the public and legal community on the edge of their seats as they watch with bated breath.”