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EFCC: Court Strikes Out Case Against Innoson

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EFCC: Court Strikes Out Case Against Innoson

An Ikeja Special Offences Court has struck out  a suit instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Innocent Chukwuma a.k.a Innoson.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Olusola Williams had in a short ruling on Wednesday struck out the case following Innoson’s failure to appear in court on seven occasions for his arraignment over alleged fraud.

Chukwuma is the Chairman, Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd.

“This court is not an investigator or a prosecutor. This court cannot waste precious judicial time prosecuting a matter that is going no where.

“The prosecution is well aware that it is its duty to produce a defendant in court; this court is not inclined to continue to waste the funds of Lagos taxpayers.

“This is a criminal matter that can be instituted anytime the prosecution is ready, I advice that the prosecution gets its act together before coming to court.

“The court hereby strikes out the matter,” she ruled.

Earlier during proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mrs Zainab Ettu, informed the court that Innoson was avoiding the anti-graft agency.

“My Lord, the defendant has been giving briefs to counsel but has never deemed it fit to appear in court.

“While we continue to pursue the arrest of the defendant, it behoves on the defence counsel as ministers in the temple of justice to produce their client.

“They need to perform their duty to the court and ensure that their client comes to court.

“If they can receive briefs from him, then they should know where he is,” she said.

Ettu noted that the EFCC  is optimistic about arresting the automobile boss.

“We already have a warrant for his arrest as the court has declared him wanted.

“The counsel to the defendant has brought numerous applications, trying to stall the matter,” she added.

Responding, Innoson’s counsel, Prof.J.N Mbaduga, told the court that the EFCC filed a suit marked FHC/L/565c which is similar to the one filed at the Ikeja Special Offences Court before a Federal High Court, Lagos.

“While the suit was still pending, the EFCC went ahead and filed another suit with the same subject matter against the defendants.

“Some of the facts arising from the case have even proceeded before the Supreme Court.

“We raised a preliminary objection citing abuse of court processes; we also raised objections on the grounds that the defendant has not been served with the charges.

“My Lord until the EFCC can produce the defendant in court, the court cannot exercise any jurisdiction over the defendant,” he said.

NAN reports that the fraud suit was initially assigned to Justice Mojisola Dada, but suffered setbacks due to Innoson’s failure to appear before her for arraignment on five occasions.

Dada was, however, withdrawn from hearing the case following Innoson’s Feb. 12 petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC), citing bias.

The NJC while absolving Justice Dada of any wrong doing, recommended that the case be reassigned by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, to another judge and the case was reassigned to Justice Williams.

Again, Innoson, failed to appear before Williams for his arraignment on two occasions prompting the judge to strike out the case.

Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd., were to be initially arraigned on Jan. 17 on a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretences, obtaining property by false pretences, stealing and forgery in a transaction with GTB.

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

The EFCC alleged 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 were imported from China in the name of GTB and falsely authorised by the bank to clear the goods.

The prosecution claimed 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.

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Business News

US Ambassador Advises Nigeria To Diversify Economy

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US Ambassador Advises Nigeria To Diversify Economy

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has advised Nigeria to diversify its economy to experience deeper growth and development.

The ambassador gave the advice at the annual dinner of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in Lagos on Sunday.

In a statement delivered by Ebuka Igochukwu, the chamber’s communication manager, Symington said Nigeria should reduce its dependence on crude oil.

Another speaker at the event, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, a former Nestle Foods Chairman, said Nigeria has to unearth the golden opportunities for economic growth and development. To do that, he recommended Agriculture and ICT which he said are viable alternatives to crude oil.

Honeywell chairman, Oba Otudeko, expressed concern bout the low performance of non-oil nigerian businesses in taking advantage of African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA.

NACC president, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, said the Chamber was committed to improving trade relations between Nigeria and the U.S.

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Entertainment News

Tunde Kelani Resigns As National Film And Video Censors Board Boss

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Tunde Kelani Resigns As National Film And Video Censors Board Boss

Iconic filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, hs resigned as boss of the National Film and Video Censors Board. Kelani blamed his resignation on the make-up of the board, and what he described as contradictions in the mentality of board members.

He said in a statement that his life and career do not fit into the set up of the board. The film icon said the structure is not aware of its functions, or what it is supposed to accomplish. Kelani said this has made it difficult for him to even try to fulfill those functions.

The filmmaker said he has decided to resign because he needed to spend his time and energy on productive, developmental, cultural, social and meaningful projects.

He said the change expected was not possible within such a large group of 52 members.

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Nigerian News

Drunk FRSC Official Causes Car Accident In Lagos

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Drunk FRSC Official Causes Car Accident In Lagos

It is a grave situation when an official, charged with guarding the law, himself is found breaking it.

That is the case of a federal road safety corps official who was allegedly drunk and who caused a car accident as a result in Lagos over the weekend.

The officer, Deputy Route Commander B. Ojeaamiren was reported to have been unable to react quickly to angry motorists whose vehicle he had bashed because of his alleged intoxication. His movement was said to be slow, and his speech slurred. The video of the incident has gone viral on social media.

Meanwhile, federal road safety corps marshal, dr. Boboye Oyeyemi has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, says the corps marshal has condemned the officer’s alleged behavior in its totality.  She also said the marshal has vowed to institute necessary disciplinary actions against the officer. He is quoted as sayng, if found guilty, the offending officer will face the law.

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