A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the immediate arrest of CEO of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma and two others.
Justice Ayokunle Faji made the order following an application by prosecuting counsel Julius Ajakaiye.
The lawyer prayed the court to order Chukwuma’s arrest for failing to appear in court to take his plea in a criminal charge.
According to him, the charge was served on the defendants by substituted means on February 8, 2016, following the take-over of the case by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
Ajakaiye recalled that since then, the third and fourth defendants had been coming to court while the first, second and fifth defendants refused to show up.
He urged the court to compel the absentee suspects to appear by ordering their arrest.
Ruling, Justice Faji said it was clear that the first, second and fifth defendants had not appeared in the criminal charge, adding that the application had merit.
“I hereby order as follows: a warrant of arrest is hereby issued against (1) Innocent Chukwuma, (2) Charles Chukwuma and (3) Sunny Anajekwe,” he ruled.
The police charged the accused with an alleged N2.4 billion shipping fraud.
The case was taken over by the AGF on March 18, 2016.
The prosecution accused the defendants of conspiring to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.
They were accused of “uttering” (presenting) the suspected falsified shipping documents as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to allegedly obtain a loan of N2.4 billion.
The Federal Government claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa Wharf, Lagos, on October 10, 2013.
The alleged offence is contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004, the AGF said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also filed a charge against Chukwuma, Innoson Nigeria Limited and Charles Chukwuma at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja Division.
Justice Faji adjourned till Friday for the defendants’ production.