The Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja on Thursday declared the Chairman of Innoson Motors, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, wanted.
Justice Mojisola Dada made an order for Chukwuma’s arrest following an application to that effect by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The anti-graft agency had charged the businessman and his firm with alleged forgery and stealing.
However, he had repeatedly failed to show up in court for his arraignment.
Apart from filing an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to try him, Chukwuma, through his legal team, also submitted a petition to the National Judicial Council accusing the trial judge, Justice Dada, of bias.
At the Thursday proceedings, counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Anselem Ozioko, decried Chukwuma’s repeated absence from court.
He prayed the court to declare the businessman wanted, contending that he was not too big to submit himself to the court.
“This appears to be the fifth time this matter is coming up before Your Lordship for arraignment.
“The learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing the second defendant (Innoson) is still insisting on taking his application without ensuring the defendant is physically present in court.
“The question is: where is the second defendant? Is he too big for the court? Is he too big for the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Is he too big because he has money? Where is he?
“What my learned friends, the defence counsel, are doing is contemptuous.
“We shall be applying for an order to declare the second defendant wanted,” Ozioko said.
In a short ruling, Justice Dada granted the prayer, holding that, “The second defendant is hereby declared wanted and the case adjourned until June 22 for possible arraignment.”
Earlier in the proceedings, the defence counsel, George Uwechue (SAN) and Prof. J. N Mbadugha, had sought the court’s permission to move their pending applications, including one challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
But the judge held that she would not entertain any such application until Chukwuma came to court.
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