In a landmark judgment which touches on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to try offences under the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, the Court of Appeal, Akure on Friday, 5 March, 2021 dismissed the appeal brought by Professor Richard Akindele challenging his trial and conviction by the Federal High Court, Osogbo for official corruption and abuse of office in respect of his demand for sexual gratification from Ms. Monica Osagie sometime in September, 2017.
It will be recalled that Prof Akindele had challenged his conviction on the grounds that the Federal High Court which tried and convicted him on 17th December, 2018 had no jurisdiction to do so.
Through his counsel, Barr O. A. Ijatuyi, the Appellant argued that since the alleged offence bothered on sexual harassment in the workplace, it is only the National Industrial Court that had exclusive jurisdiction to try the case by virtue of Section 254 of the constitution. Counsel also argued that the ICPC failed to comply with its own Act which requires that cases of corruption be tried before a High Court designated by the Chief Judge of a state or the Federal Capital Territory.
Delivering judgment on Friday, 5 March, 2021 in appeal no CA/AK/80c/2019, Prof Richard Akindele v FRN, the Court agreed with E.A. Shogunle, Esq for the Respondent that the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court in criminal matters is not exclusive.
In dismissing the appeal, the Court further held that S. 26(2) of the ICPC Act 2000 grants jurisdiction to any superior court of record to try offences under the Act.
The court therefore affirmed the trial and conviction of the Appellant and dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.