Corruption and Underdevelopment

Alleged N1.7bn Fraud: Court grants application of First Nation MD

By Paul Michael, Abuja

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has granted an application filed on behalf of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Nation Airways Limited, Kayode Odukoya, seeking the release of his passport to enable him to get it renewed by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to attend the graduation ceremony of his son at the University of Kent, United Kingdom.

Odukoya is 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.

According to EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, one of the counts against Odukoya reads: “Kayode Odukoya and First Nation Airways, on or about the 29th day of August, 2013 in Lagos, within the lkeja Judicial Division, using 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 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.”

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At the sitting which was held on April 13, the defence counsel, E.D. Onyeke, moved the application dated April 1, 2022, on behalf of his client, seeking an order of the Court for the release of his passport deposited with the EFCC.

“It is to enable him to renew same in order to travel to the United Kingdom for his son’s graduation at the University of Kent on May 17,” he said.

He further informed the Court that the said application had also been served on the prosecution.

Confirming the said position, the prosecuting counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, raised no objections but left the decision to the discretion of the Court.

“Out of caution, the prosecution will want the defence counsel to take special undertaking that the defendant will be available at the next adjourned date,” Omewa said.

Ruling on the application, Justice Dada, granted the prayers of the defence and ordered that his passport be released to him.

“The defendant must return the international passport to the Commission on or before the 23rd of May, 2022,” the trial judge ruled.

The case was adjourned to May 23 and 25, 2022 for cross-examination of the defendant by the prosecution.

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