For failing to appear in court in person twice on a criminal matter, an Ikeja Special Offences Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd.
The substantive suit was filed against the indigenous vehicle manufacturer by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over allegations of his company’s complicity in clearing some goods said to have been imported by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.
Mr. Chukwuma and his company were charged along Mr. Charles Chukwuma on a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, obtaining 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 alleges 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 (GTB) from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.
EFCC also 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 authorised by the bank to clear the goods.
The prosecution claims 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.
According to the anti-graft agency, 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.
However, angered by not appearing in court for two consecutive times, presiding Justice Mojisola Dada said “A bench warrant is hereby served on Innocent Chukwuma, he will remain in custody till the next adjourned date”.
“The case is adjourned till March 14 for possible arraignment,” Justice Dada said.