The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has asked the Court of Appeal, sitting in Lagos, to declare the purported pardon granted to an Indian businessman, Ashok Israni, and three others, by the Lagos State government unconstitutional, null and void.
Addressing a special panel of the appellate court, yesterday, during the hearing of the appeal filed by Israni, and two officials of Keystone Bank, Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi, EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, submitted that there are a plethora of legal authorities that pardon cannot be granted to convicts whose rights of appeal have not been exhausted.
Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, had on December 9, 2019, convicted Israni, and two officials of Keystone Bank, Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi, on an amended 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N855 million.
Dissatisfied, Israni and others in their separate appeals challenged the judgement of the lower court and urged the appellate court to allow the appeals, and set aside the judgement of the lower court.
However, while the appeals were still pending, and just four months after their conviction, the Appellants were released from prison by officials of the Kirikiri Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), allegedly on the directive of the Lagos State Government, despite the pendency of their appeals before the upper court