First Nation denies EFCC’s N1.7b theft, forgery allegation
First Nation Airways, yesterday, denied the charges of N1.7 billion fraud, stealing and forgery allegation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against it and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kayode Odukoya.
The airlines, in a statement signed by Ademola Daniel, said the allegations were based on a false petition by Skye Bank Plc, adding it and its chief executive would prove their innocence in court.
Odukoya was recently granted bail by an Ikeja Special Offences Court following his arraignment on March 16, this year, before Justice Dada for alleged theft and forgery by the anti-graft agency.
He was arraigned on a four-count charge of N1.7 billion theft and forgery of Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Lagos State Government.
The statement explained that the charges were bogus, without basis and “targeted to impugn our integrity and we will vigorously defend ourselves in court.”
According to the airlines: “As the matter is subjudice, we are unable to discuss any further details, but we wish to clarify and correct, malicious misrepresentations made against us to the media.
“Although the charge was filed as far back as December 11, last year, the EFCC did not inform either Odukoya or First Nation of its existence, even though First Nation and Odukoya, in good faith, continued to visit EFCC offices on December 16, February 6 and March 13, this year.
“At the same time, the wrong impression was being created in court that Odukoya was avoiding arraignment. First Nation only learnt of the charges through social media on March 9, this year,” the statement read in part.
On becoming aware of the charges through the social media, the airline added that Odukoya voluntarily visited the EFCC on March 13 at 10 am and was subsequently detained, despite already been on administrative bail.
“Given the fact that the charge had already been filed, he should then have been immediately served with same to allow him effectively defend the action.
“Instead, Odukoya was only served with the charge on Thursday, March 16 and arraigned on Friday, March 17, well outside the 48 hours required by law.