Bar Baric

Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday stayed proceedings in a fraud case against Innoson Nigeria Limited and five others.

The police charged them with an alleged N2.4billion shipping fraud.

The case is numbered FHC/L/565c/16.

The Attorney-General of the Federation took over the case on March 18, 2016.

Others named in the charge are – chairman of Innoson Motors, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, Charles Chukwuma, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.

Trial is yet to begin in the case since it was filed due to various applications by the defendants.

Chukwuma has also never appeared in the case and was not in court on Thursday.

Justice Faji said he was staying proceedings because there was a pending application that was yet to be determined at the Supreme Court.

“In view of the pending motion for stay of proceedings at the Supreme Court, this court will wait until it is determined,” he ruled.

According to him, lower courts must wait on the Supreme Court where a decision on appeal would have a direct impact on proceedings.

“To do otherwise will amount to an invitation to judicial anarchy,” Justice Faji added.

When the defence counsel told him about other pending applications, he said: “I cannot do anything. I cannot even cough.”

He adjourned the case till March 12 for report of developments at the Supreme Court.

The prosecution accused the defendants of conspiring to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.

They were accused of “uttering” (presenting) the allegedly falsified shipping documents as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to allegedly obtain a loan of N2.4billion.

The Federal Government claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa wharf, Lagos, on October 10, 2013.

The police prosecutor, who signed the charge sheet, U.S. Nwodo, said the offence was contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.

Prosecuting counsel, Mr. J.I. Ajakaiye, was in court on Thursday. He confirmed that there was a pending appeal at the Supreme Court.

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