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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Innoson's absence in court stalls arraignment on fraud charges - EFCC



The scheduled arraignment of Innocent Chukwuma,  Chairman, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, on charges bordering on fraud was stalled on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 following his absence in court. 

Chukwuma was to be arraigned alongside his company and one Charles Chukwuma on a 4-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by fals pretence and forgery before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
 
The defendants allegedly committed the offence between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos. They were said to have conspired to obtain by false pretence containers of motorcycle spare parts and raw materials, which were property of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.
 
They also allegedly induced staff of Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to deliver to them, via their clearing agents , the goods that were imported from China in the name of GTB by falsely pretending that they were authorised by the bank to clear the goods.

The defendants were also said to have forged a bill of lading numbered 598286020 of Maersk Line Limited and 11007950841 of Mutsui O.S.K Lines by knowingly putting a false GTB stamp and signature of the bank staff.

When the matter was called,  counsel to the defendants,  U. Onwukwe, told court that he had filed an application dated January 15, 2018 challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. "My client has not been served. We got to know of this matter on social media." ...
However,  the prosecuting counsel,  Zainab Ettu,  told the court that the defendants had been evading service.

A mild drama however ensued when Justice Dada asked the EFCC counsel to pass an advanced copy of the charge to Onwukwe as a form of service. Onwukwe objected to be served, stating that he could not accept the advanced copy of the charge as a form of service to the defendants.
 
The judge, therefore, ordered EFCCcounsel to "put the copy of the charge on the table, if he refuses to accept it." Consequently,  Justice Dada adjourned till February 9, 2018 for possible arraignment.
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