The Federal Government has called on the Federal High Court in Lagos to issue a bench warrant for Innoson Nigeria Limited’s chairman, Innocent Chukwuma and two of his employees, Concise News understands.
This news medium understands that the Federal Government made the call on Monday after they were charged in a fraud case before Justice Ayokunle Faji.
The Police had charged them with a reported N2.4billion shipping fraud, but the Attorney-General of the Federation later took over the case.
Charles Chukwuma, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny are the other persons levelled with the charge.
The prosecution is praying the court to order for the arrest of Innoson Motors Chairman and his staff over failure to show up and take their plea in the criminal charge.
Also, the Prosecuting Counsel, Julius Ajakaiye moved an application calling on the court to order the arrest of the absent defendants.
According to him, the charge was served on them via a court-ordered February 8, 2016, substituted service following the AGF’s take-over of the case.
Ajakaiye noted, however, that since then, the third and fourth defendants had been coming to court, while the first, second and fifth defendants “have refused, failed and neglected to appear in court till date.”
Consequently, he said the defendants were yet to take their plea and should, therefore, be compelled to appear.
He added that an April 12, 2016, amended charge could not be served on the absent defendants.
Ajakaiye called on the court to grant his application by ordering their arrest.
However, the defence counsel Chief George Uwechue (SAN), Mbadugha prayed the court to dismiss the application.
They noted that the court lacked jurisdiction to issue the warrant against the defendants “because they were not properly before the court”.
They said the application offends Order 6 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, saying that there was no proper service on their clients.
The prosecution accused the defendants of conspiring to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.
They were accused of “uttering” (presenting) the allegedly falsifying shipping documents as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to get a loan of N2.4billion.
The Federal Government claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa wharf on October 10, 2013.
The alleged offence is contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.
Justice Faji adjourned until July 3 for the ruling.