Judge’s withdrawal from suit stalls Innoson boss arraignment
Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has been asked to withdraw and return the case file of the suit against Chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd., Innocent Chukwuma, to the chief judge.
The judge withdrew from the case in response to the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) while responding to the petition written by the automobile boss dated February 12, 2018.
The arraignment of Innoson boss by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) scheduled to hold yesterday was stalled as a result of the recommendation made by the NJC that the case file be transfered.
It would be recalled that Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd., were to be arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain property by false pretences, obtaining property by false pretences, stealing and forgery in a transaction with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
The EFCC alleged that the defendants committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.
According to the anti-graft commission, that the defendants with intent to defraud; conspired to obtain by false pretences containers of motorcycle, spare parts and raw materials, property of GTB from Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, Apapa, Lagos.
They are alleged to have fraudulently induced staff of Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to deliver to them via their clearing agents the goods which were imported from China in the name of GTB by falsely pretending that they were authorized by the bank to clear the goods.
Also, EFCC alleged that the defendants in order to facilitate the fraud 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.
The alleged forgery was in order that the forged documents be used or acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person within Lagos or elsewhere.
The offences contravened Sections 1(1)(b), 1(3), and 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2016 and Sections 309(9), 388, 465 and 467(1)(j) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2003.
Following refusal of Chukwuma to appear in court to take his plea in court for the fifth time on May 23, 2018, the judge had declared him wanted following the request by the EFCC.
The petition to NJC by the automobile boss is titled, “Request To Investigate The Circumstances Leading To Hon. Justice Mojisola Dada of Lagos State High Court Issuing a Bench Warrant Against Chief Innocent Chukwuma and Ordering for His Arrest.”
However, in the NJC’s response made available to The Guardian, it is asserted that the Council in a meeting held on March 9,2018 had absolved Justice Dada of any wrongdoing.
The letter signed by Mr. Ahmed Saleh, the Secretary to the NJC stated that, “At the end of deliberation, Council did not find any act of misconduct on the part of the Hon. Judge. However, if the case is still pending before Hon. Justice M. A. Dada, same will be returned to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another Judge.”
The Guardian learnt that following the NJC’s order, the case file had already been returned to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke for re-assignment.
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