Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Bail Jumping Lawyer Re-arraigned Over Alleged N266.5m Fraud

Bail Jumping Lawyer Re-arraigned Over Alleged N266.5m Fraud

A lawyer, Ismaila Ahmed Olokun, who became elusive after he was arraigned on alleged criminal charges of N88, 912, 939 million fraud, issuance of dud Cheques and fraudulent conversation, and admitted to bail, has been rearraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, by the men of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU). 

Olokun was first arraigned before Justice Sule Muslim Hassan, who has been elevated to Court of Appeal, sometimes in March, 2020, on the alleged offences.

The lawyer was alleged to have fraudulently obtained the said sum from a contracting firm, Edward and Jones Contracting Services Limited, under false pretence of rendering a service to the company, sometimes in May, 2019.

The offences according to the prosecutor are contrary to sections 1(1} (a) (b) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006; Section 383(1) and punishable under Section 390(8) (b) of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C.38 LFN 2004 and Section 1(1) (a) (bi) of the Dishonoured (Cheques) offences Act Cap D11 LFN 2004. 
The offences.

On his arraignment before Justice Hassan, he pleaded not guilty to the charges and he was admitted to bail in the sum of N5 million with a surety in like sum and among other conditions. But rather than to remand him in the prison, he was released to his Counsel with an order that the bail terms be fulfilled before the adjourned date. 

However, upon his released to his counsel, Barrister Olokun became elusive and never turn up for his trial and never fulfill the bail terms as ordered by Justice Hassan.

At the resumed hearing of the charge before Justice Yellim Bogoro, who took over from Justice Hassan, sometimes last month, he was no where to be found, the development which compelled the prosecutor, Mr. Obiaze, to asked the court for a bench warrant against him, and for court to summon his counsel, which was granted by the new trial judge.

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the elusive lawyer was brought to court by his former counsel, who told the court that he could no longer representing him.

The lawyer’s new Counsel, Akioya O., who told the court that the lawyer refusal to appear in court was due to ill-health, which made him to be admitted at the Psychiatric unit of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UNIBENTH), Edo State. 

But the prosecutor, Mr. Obiaze, while opposing the counsel position, told the court that the elusive lawyer intentionally jumped bail and failed to communicate with him.

Justice Bogoro, after listening to parties arguments, asked that the charge be read to the defendant to properly retake his plea.

After the reading of the charges to him, he pleaded not guilty to them. 

Following his plea of not guilty, the prosecutor asked the court to remand him with the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), so as to avoid the issue of lawyer bail jumping again.

But his counsel, Mr. Akioya, informed the court that he has filed the lawyer’s bail application and same has been served on the prosecutor, 

Akioya pleaded with the court to remand his client at the Psychiatric unit of UNIBEN Teaching Hospital, for proper medication pending the perfection of the bail term. 

The request which was vehemently opposed by the prosecutor, on the ground that the lawyer will not turn up for trial, just as he did when he was arraigned before Justice Hassan.

Ruling on the bail, Justice Bogoro, admitted him to bail with the earlier terms granted him by Justice Hassan.

The judge however ordered that he must produce a surety not below Grade Level 04, pending the fulfilment of earlier bail conditions before he should be released from the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services NCoS.

Futher hearing of the charge has been fixed for June 14, for trial.

Count one of the charges against the lawyer reads: “that you Barrister Ismaila Ahmed Olokun ‘m’ sometimes in May 2019 at Ikoyi in the Lagos Judicial Division of this Honourable Court did by false pretence and with intent to defraud obtain the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Unitea States Dollars ($250,000) equivalent of Eighty Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Two Naira only (N88,912,932) from Edward and Jones Contracting Services Ltd and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1} (a) (b) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”

The fifth count reads: “that you Barrister Ismaila Ahmed Olokun “m’ on the 15th day of July, 2019 at Victoria Island Lagos in the Lagos Judicial Division of this Honourable Court did issue Zenith Bank Cheque No. 05390980 dated 15th June 2019 for the sum of Four Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (N4,475,000.00) to Edward and Jones Contracting Services Ltd which was presented for payment within three months and it was dishonoured on the ground of insufficient funds standing to the credit in the Bank on which the cheque was drawn and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(a) (b) (1) of the Dishonoured (Cheques) offences Act, Cap. D11 LEN 2004.”