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Innoson Blasts EFCC, GTB: I’m Not Afraid Of Arraignment; Seeks Stay Of Execution


Innoson boss has blasted EFCC & Guaranty Trust Bank [GTB] following recent arrest order issued by Justice Mojisola Dada of Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma

Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Dr Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, OFR, popularly known as Innoson has blasted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] and the Guaranty Trust Bank [GTB] following the recent arrest order issued by Justice Mojisola Dada of Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

In a press release issued by Head of Corporate Communications of Innoson Group, Mr. Cornel Osigwe, Chief Chukwuma stated that as a law abiding citizen, he is not afraid of arraignment in the court but that he must be arraigned through the due process of law. 

Innoson stated this why receiving the news of issuance of bench warrant against him by State High Court Ikeja.

In a ruling by Justice Mojisola Dada, the court ordered that Innoson should be arrested and kept in custody a day before the next adjournment and be produced on the adjourned date, March 14, 2018 for probable arraignment over alleged forgery.

In a related development, the spokesperson of Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe reacting to the issuance of bench warrant against Innoson stated that the decision of Justice Mojisola Dada was done in bad faith because the judge did not grant the counsel to Innoson, Prof J.N Mbadugha Esq a fair hearing.

During the court proceedings, Prof Mbadugha invited the attention of the court to the motions pending in the matter, viz:

• that the charge is an abuse of process because a similar charge on the same subject matter is pending at the federal high court Lagos division between the same parties in charge no FHC/l/565c/2015; 

• a motion pending at the court of appeal to stay commencement of proceedings and execution of the court’s order of 17th January 2018; 

• a motion that the court recuse or disqualify itself from further conduct of the proceedings; and,

• a motion that EFCC cannot be heard in any application until it withdraws the charge given a pending motion against it praying that it be restrained from filing any charge in respect of the same subject matter of the charge that was struck out until the determination of the appeal against the court’s order striking out the previous charge- Charge No. ID/197c/2013.

Prof Mbadugha also informed the court that the 3rd defendant has not been served and as such the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

All the submissions of Prof Mbadugha to the judge were not granted, however the judge granted the plea of the counsel to EFCC who prayed the court to issue a bench warrant against Innoson. 

The issuance of bench warrant led to a wild jubilation by some staff of GTB and their lawyers who were fully seated in the court.

It must be stated that based on the submission of Prof Mbadugha, counsel to Innoson, the judge erred in law by making an order to issue a bench warrant against Innoson.

The court is bound by law to listen and decide the applications submitted rather than making an order to arraign Innoson in a charge that is an abuse of process.

Osigwe have previously maintained that the EFCC charge which is being instigated by GTB is a gross abuse of process.

First, an earlier charge which GTB induced the EFCC to file against Innoson was struck out. Innoson appealed against the order striking the charge out on the ground that it ought to be a dismissal and not striking out. 

The appeal, with Appeal No: CA/L/1328CM/2017 is, till date, still pending when EFCC filed or re-filed, in December 2017, the same charge that was struck out. 

Secondly, the charge is on the same subject matter and the same party as Charge No: FHC/L/565C/2015 that is pending at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in Appeal No: CA/E/249C/2016.

Both charges are smear campaign by GTB and EFCC to destroy Innoson, Osigwe alleged.

INNOSON FILES MOTION FOR STAY OF EXECUTION FOR BENCH WARRANT

In a related development, Chief Chukwuma, through his counsel, Odinaka Anajemba ESQ of McCarthy Mbadugha & Co, has formally filled a Motion on Notice at the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja for staying the execution of the Court’s order of Bench Warrant made on 9th Feb 2018 by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja pending the determination of the appeal filed against the order.

In a ruling by Justice Mojisola Dada, the court ordered that Innoson should be arrested and kept in custody a day before the next adjournment and be produced on the adjourned date, March 14, 2018 for probable arraignment over alleged forgery. 

In a further development, Innoson has through his counsel appealed the decision of the court to assume jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Prof J.N Mbadugha, counsel to Innoson had during the court proceedings on Feb 9th 2018 raised an objection to the court that there is a motion pending at the court of appeal to stay commencement of proceedings and execution of the court’s order of 17th January 2018 that the information be served on counsel thereby questioning further the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

Prof Mbadugha also invited the attention of the court to the motions pending in the matter, viz:

1. that the charge is an abuse of process because a similar charge on the same subject matter is pending at the federal high court Lagos division between the same parties in charge no FHC/l/565c/2015; 

2. a motion that the court recuses or disqualify itself from further conduct of the proceedings;

3. a motion that EFCC cannot be heard in any application until it withdraws the charge given a pending motion against it praying that it be restrained from filing any charge in respect of the same subject matter of the charge that was struck out until the determination of the appeal against the court’s order striking out the previous charge- Charge No. ID/197c/2013.

Prof Mbadugha also informed the court that the 3rd defendant has not been served and as such the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Stating the particulars of error in its Notice of Appeal, Prof Mbadugha stated:

1. the learned judge erred in law when it assumed the jurisdiction to entertain the matter because there was an issue before the trial court that the information/charge is an abuse of process and it is not within the jurisdictional competence of the Court and that of Economic and Financial Crime Commission has no power to investigate, initiate and prosecute the Appellants (Innoson) for forgery, uttering and stealing. In consequence whereof the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

2. The learned trial judge failed to determine the aforesaid issue.

3. The learned trial judge failed to appreciate that the issue as raised divests the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Mbadugha therefore prayed that the Court set aside the decision of the learned trial judge and the bench warrant against the or for the arrest of the Appellant (Innoson) issued and or ordered by the learned trail judge.

These court processes have been duly served on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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