The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, has asked Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja to stay the execution of a bench warrant issued against him last Friday over his failure to show up in court to answer to a forgery charge slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The businessman wants the court to stay the execution of the arrest warrant pending the determination of an appeal he lodged against the order. Justice Dada had, while issuing the warrant, ordered that the Innoson boss should be arrested and kept in custody a day before March 14, the next adjourned date, for probable arraignment over the alleged offence.
In the notice of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, through his lawyer, Prof. McCarthy Mbadugha, Chukwuma is contending that the lower court erred in law when it assumed the jurisdiction to entertain the matter because there was an issue before the trial court that the charge is an abuse of process.
This, he claimed, has robbed the lower court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Consequently, the businessman is contending that the EFCC lacks power to investigate, initiate and prosecute him for forgery and stealing. He is, therefore, praying the appellate court to set aside the decision of Justice Dada to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Mbadugha had, during last Friday’s proceedings before Justice Dada, raised an objection to the trial of his client before the court on the ground that there is a motion pending at the Court of Appeal seeking stay of proceedings in the matter.
The lawyer also questioned the rationale behind the filing of the charge, which he claimed was similar to an existing charge marked FHC/l/565c/2015, pending at the Federal High Court in Lagos. He said the EFCC cannot be heard in any application until it withdraws the charge given a pending motion against it. Mbadugha equally prayed the court to restrain the anti-graft agency 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, marked ID/197c/2013.
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