A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has authorised the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) to commence the prosecution of a Lagos businessman, Innocent Chukwuma, his company, Innoson Nigeria Limited, and four others for alleged forgery.
The ruling of the presiding judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, was based on an application filed before the court by Ministry of Justice that the AGF has taken over the prosecution of the accused persons. This was objected to by the prosecutor from the office of the Inspector- General of Police.
But after listening to the submission of the counsel for the two parties, the court decided that the Attorney-General of the Federation should begin the prosecution of the accused persons.
Consequently, the AGF filed an amended four-count criminal charge against the accused persons. To be arraigned alongside the accused businessman are Charles Chukwu, Maximilian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Annajekwu Sunny.
In the amended charge (FHC /L/565/C/2015) filed before the court by Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mohammed Saidu Diri, it was alleged that the accused, between January 2010 and April 2011, at the Apapa Wharf, criminally conspired to falsify shipping documents which they deposited with Mitsui Osk Lines. The documents were used as collateral for the purpose of clearance of polyvinylchloride (PVC ) used in the production of ceilings and other imported items.
Mr. Diri alleged that the accused persons harboured an intention to defraud Mitsui Osk Lines via the falsified the documents, which were used as collateral to obtain a loan of N2.4billion from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
The loan was for the purpose of clearing of the imported items.
All the alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 3(6),1(2)(C) of the miscellaneous offences Act Cap. M 17 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
Justice Saidu adjourned till 31 May, when all the accused persons are due for arraignment.