By Robert Egbe
A Federal High Court in Lagos will tomorrow resume proceedings in the alleged N2.9 billion fraud charge filed by the Federal Government against a businessman, Kenneth Amadi.
Justice Mohammed Liman fixed the date on January 30, following the defendant’s repeated failure to appear in court for arraignment.
The judge threatened to issue a Bench warrant for the arrest of Amadi, a former staff member of Eunisell Nigeria Ltd.
The government’s previous attempts to arraign Amadi and a firm, IDID Nigeria Ltd for the offence failed on November 27, 2019.
Amadi’s counsel, Mr Emeka Etiaba (SAN), said the defendants were not opposing their arraignment and trial.
He told Justice Liman that he had made an arrangement with the prosecutor to receive a copy of the charge on the defendants’ behalf.
Thereafter, the prosecutor served him the five-count charge and the proceedings were adjourned till January 9, 2020.
But Amadi did not appear on that date.
The suspect was again absent in court on January 30 and had no legal representation to explain his absence.
Addressing the court on the development, prosecution counsel Aderonke Imana said she was displeased, because, according to her, it was Etiaba (SAN) that picked the date for his client’s arraignment.
She prayed the court to compel Amadi’s appearance.
Imana also prayed the court to award a fine of N150,000 against the defendants in her favour as compensation for the stress of travelling from Abuja to attend the case.
But Justice Liman decided to give the suspect one last chance.
The judge threatened to issue a Bench Warrant against Amadi if he failed to show up in court tomorrow for his arraignment.
The judge also awarded N50,000 cost against the defendants in favour of the prosecution’s lawyer.
The charges against the defendants include receiving and obtaining by false pretence, with intent to defraud, the sum of N2.9b belonging to Eunisell Ltd, from A-Z Petroleum Ltd and AMMASCO International Ltd; omitting making full and true entry thereof in the books and accounts; suppression of data in respect of the financial transfer to Eunisell Ltd; and converting same amount without authority to create sufficient deposits to promote the credibility of his own company (Idid Nigeria Limited).
The offences are contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, CapA6, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.