Alleged Forgery: Court Stays Proceedings on Hearing of Bench Warrant Against Innoson Motors’ Boss

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Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Thursday, stayed proceedings in the fraud case against Innoson Nigeria Limited and five others.

The Police charged them with an alleged N2.4 billion shipping fraud. The case is numbered FHC/L/565c/16.

Others named in the charge are chairman of Innoson Motors, Mr Innocent Chukwuma, Charles Chukwu, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.

Trial is yet to begin in the case since it was filed, due to various applications filed by the accused persons, some of which are on appeal at Supreme Court of Nigeria.

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Mr Innocent Chukwuma has also never appeared in the case and was not in court yesterday.

The presiding judge, Justice Faji, at the Thursday’s hearing of the matter, said he was staying proceedings because there was a pending application that was yet to be determined.

“In view of the pending motion for stay of proceedings at the Supreme Court, this court will wait until it is determined,” he ruled.

According to him, lower courts must wait on the Supreme Court where a decision on appeal would have a direct impact on proceedings.

“To do otherwise will amount to an invitation to judicial anarchy,” Justice Faji added.

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When the defence counsel told him about other pending applications, he said: “I cannot do anything. I cannot even cough.”

He adjourned the case until March 13, for mention.

The police have accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.

They were accused of uttering the allegedly falsified shipping documents by tendering same as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank to allegedly obtain a loan of N2.4bn.

The police claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa wharf on October 10, 2013.

The police prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, who signed the charge sheet, said the offences are contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.

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The prosecutor from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Ajakaiye, was in court yesterday. He confirmed that there was a pending appeal at the Supreme Court.

Counsel for Innoson Nigeria, Chief George Uwechue (SAN), and other defence counsel, Prof. C. Mbadugha and Mr. Olusola Abioye, were also present.

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