A visibly angry Justice Mojisola Dada on Wednesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited in open court.
Justice Dada who was irritated by the claims of Mr. U. Onwukwe, Counsel for Mr. Chukwuma justified his absence and told the court that his client has not been served and that he only got a whiff of the suit on social media.
Mr. Chukwuma failed to make an appearance at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for his scheduled arraignment by the anti-graft agency. Mr. Chukwuma was to be arraigned alongside his company Innoson Motors Limited and Charles Chukwuma.
Mr. U. Onwukwe, the counsel to the defendants told the court that he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Meanwhile, the EFCC insisted that the businessman was evading service.
Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Miss Zainab Ettu told the court that the defendants are on administrative bail and as diligent citizens of the country when they heard of the charges they ought to come to the EFCC office with their counsel and receive a copy of the charge.
However, the presiding judge asked EFCC to pass an advanced copy of the charge to Mr. Onwukwe as a form of service.
Mr. Onwukwe, however, objected, saying that he could not accept the advanced copy of the charge as a form of service to the defendants.
Angrily, the judge directed that the copy should be dropped on the table for counsel if he is not willing to accept it.
The defendants were to be arraigned on a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, obtaining property by false pretenses, stealing and forgery.
The prosecution claimed the defendants committed the offenses between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.
According to the charge, the defendants conspired to obtain by false pretenses containers of motorcycles, spare parts, and raw materials property of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.
They were 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.
The prosecution claim 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 according to the EFCC, are in contravention of 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 of Lagos State 2003.
Further hearing has been adjourned to February 9, 2018.