18 January 2018

Nigeria: EFCC Accuses Innoson Chairman of Evading Service of Court Processes

The Economic and Fiancial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused the Chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, of evading being served court processes in stealing and fraud charges it brought against him before an Ikeja High Court.

Chukwuma was to be arraigned alongside his company, Innoson Motors Limited and Charles Chukwuma wednesday before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja High Court but was absent in court.

They were to be arraigned on a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, stealing and forgery.

According to the charge sheet, the defendants committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.

The EFCC alleged that defendants with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain by false pretenses containers of motorcycle, spare parts and raw materials property of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.

The defendants 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 GTBank by falsely pretending that they were authorised by the bank to clear the goods.

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.

When the matter was called yesterday, EFCC counsel, Miss Zainab Ettu, told the court that Chukwuma and his co-defendants were evading service.

"The most important thing is for us to proceed to trial, the defendants are on administrative bail.

"My lord we will be asking for the shortest possible date since they are evading service so that we can serve them in the courtroom," the EFCC counsel said.

Counsel to the defendants, Mr. U. Onwukwe, however told the court that he only learnt of the proposed arraignment after seeing it on social media.

Onwukwe also informed the court that he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

"We have an application objecting to the jurisdiction of this court and it was filed on January 15.

"My client has not been served, when this matter was filed the EFCC went to social media and it was through social media that we became aware and we have not been served.

"The EFCC arrested them and they know where they reside, they granted the 2nd defendant (innocent Chukwuma) bail on self recognisance and told him to come to EFCC office on February 20, in December they went ahead to file these charges.

"Charles Chukwuma who is the 3rd defendant in the charge, was not even arrested by the EFCC," Oneukwe said.

Justice Dada therefore asked the EFCC counsel to pass an advanced copy of the charge to Onwukwe as a form of service.

But Onwukwe objected by saying that he could not accept the advanced copy of the charge as a form of service to the defendants.

"Put the copy of the charge on the table if he refuses to accept it," the judge ordered.

The judge thereafter adjourned the case till February 9,2018 for possible arraignment.

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