The trial-within-trial of Scales Ishola Olatunji, a suspected serial fraudster resumed on Friday, January 29, 2021 before Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC presenting its third prosecution witness, Shedrack Babs Iyo who informed the court that Scales who was arraigned on July 2, 2019, had written to the Commission, opting for a plea bargain agreement, wherein he would forfeit two of his properties worth over N108million.
Scales is being prosecuted by the Uyo zonal office of the EFCC on a 45-count charge bordering on impersonation, obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy and fraud to the tune of N525m.
He pleaded not guilty upon arraignment.
When the matter came up on December 10, 2020, the prosecuting counsel, Nwandu Ukoha, through Mubarak Mohammed Sade (the third Prosecution Witness in the main trial) sought to tender a document dated December 5, 2020 before the court but was opposed by the defense counsel, Jane Obika on the grounds that the statement was taken under duress.
This led to the trial-within-trial and the prosecution opened its case on Thursday, January 28, 2021.
While being led in evidence by Ukoha, Iyo, an operative of the EFCC, told the court that after the defendant was arraigned on July 2, 2019 and was remanded in Uyo Correctional Centre, the Commission received a handwritten application from the defendant titled “Application for Plea Bargain” dated November 19, 2019.