Chukwuma speaks on arrest warrant, says judge erred

Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Group, says Mojisola Dada, the judge who issued his arrest warrant, erred in law.

On Friday, a high court in Lagos issued a warrant of arrest for Chukwuma over his failure to appear before it and face trial.

In a statement, Cornel Osigwe, spokesman of Innoson Group, quoted Chukwuma as saying the order Dada was done in bad faith because fair hearing was not granted to Joseph Mbadugha, his counsel.

He said due process ought to have been followed in his arraignment.

Chukwuma explained that his counsel drew the attention of the court to pending motions such as similar charge had been filed in another court, a motion for stay of proceedings and that the court should recuse itself.

He said instead of listening to his counsel, the judge granted the prayer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“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,” the statement by Osigwe read.

“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.

“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.”