By Chiemelie Ezeobi
An Ikeja High Court has fixed May 23 for the hearing of an application seeking to set aside the arrest warrant it issued against two Indian-British nationals facing an alleged $8.8million fraud.
The duo, Deepak Khilnani and Sushil Chandra, are being prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) before Justice Atinuke Ipaye, for conspiracy, cheating, stealing and false representation.
They were alleged to have defrauded their Nigerian partner, Green Fuels Limited of $8.8 million in 2008.
The prosecution alleged that the duo â€œfraudulently tricked Green Fuels Limited to pay greater sum for machinery purchased from Gentec Limited than it would have paid for such machinery.â€
Attempts to formally arraign the duo in court have failed, as the defendants were alleged to have fled to London since investigation commenced into the alleged fraud and havenâ€™t returned to Nigeria.
This prompted the prosecution led by Senior State Counsel, Mrs. Bola Akinsete, to file an application for the arrest of the defendants.
Although Justice Atinuke on April 3, issued an arrest warrant and directed the police to get the defendants, their lawyer, Kayode Ajekigbe, filed an application challenging the order and praying that it be set aside because it was got through â€œ a wrong process.â€
At the resumed hearing on May 6, Ajekigbe informed the court of newspaper advertisements and publications on the arrest warrant, which was being challenged, insisting that the publications were done in bad fate.
Ajekigbe prayed the court for an order stopping further publication of the arrest warrant, alleging that it was being sponsored by the complainant and not the police, to whom the order was addressed.
After hearing the submission of defence counsel, Justice Ipaye issued a cease and desist order on the said arrest warrant.
She said: â€œA cease and desist order is hereby made stopping the publication of the arrest warrant issued by this court in respect of the two defendants in this matter on an platform. This case is adjourned till May 23 for hearing of the application.â€
Earlier, Justice Ipaye frowned at the casual attitude of the prosecution in handling the case.
She expressed dismay that the prosecution, which failed to file response to the application challenging her arrest order, sent a â€˜babyâ€™ lawyer who knows nothing about the case to court to hold its brief.
â€œThis is an indictment on the prosecution team which has been served but decided to send a baby lawyer to court.Â
â€œThis court is being treated with a level of casualness. This court is displeased with the attitude of the prosecution,â€ she said.