The Chairman of Innoson Group,Innocent Chukwuma, has reacted to the bench warrant for his arrest issued by Justice Mojisola Dada’s order for his arrest issued by her court on Friday, by saying that he is not afraid of arraignment.
Chukwuma, who spoke through the Head of Corporate Communications of the Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe, said that the order for his arrest was done in bad faith.
According to him, the judge did not grant the counsel to Innoson, Prof J.N Mbadugha Esg a fair hearing.
He said, ‘It must be stated that based on the submission of Mr. 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 industrialist said that as a law abiding citizen, he is not afraid of arraignment in the court but he must be arraigned through the due process of law.
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.
Osigwesaidthat 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.
He listed other reasons why the court made an error in making the order of warrant to include the following:
- that 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 there is a motion for the court recuse or disqualify itself from further conduct of the proceedings;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. Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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. Mr. Osigwe has 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. Cornel Osigwe Head of Corporate Communications Innoson Group