Innoson Chairman, Chukwuma Asks Court to Stay Execution of Bench Warrant

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  • Appeals order

By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu

Barely 24-hours after an Ikeja High Court presided over by Justice Mojisola Dada issued a bench warrant against him in a case of alleged forgery, the Chairman/Managing Director of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), Chief Innocent Chukwuma, has returned to the court, seeking a stay of execution of the order.

The embattled automobile manufacturer would also head for the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal to formally challenge the trial court’s decision of February 9, 2018, as well as the order that he should be arrested.

Justice Dada had ordered that the Innoson owner 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. 

But in a motion on notice filed through his counsel, Odinaka Anajemba ESQ of McCarthy Mbadugha and Co, on February 9, 2018, at the High Court of Lagos State for stay of the execution of the court’s order, and which copies were made available to THISDAY in Enugu, Chukwuma insisted that the order be stayed pending the determination of the appeal filed against the order.

Counsel to Innoson, Prof J.N Mbadugha, had during the court proceedings on February 9, 2018, raised an objection to the court that there is a motion pending at the court of appeal to stay commencement of proceedings and execution of the court’s order of January 17, 2018, that the information be served on counsel thereby questioning further the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

Mbadugha also called the attention of the court to the motions pending in the matter viz: 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 also moved a motion that the court recuses or disqualifies itself from further conduct of the proceedings; a motion 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.

Mbadugha also informed the court that the third defendant has not been served and as such, the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

On the appeal filed at the appellate court, counsel to Chukwuma also stated that the learned judge erred in law when she assumed the jurisdiction to entertain the matter because there was an issue before the trial court that the information/charge is an abuse of process and it is not within the jurisdictional competence of the court and that of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has no power to investigate, initiate and prosecute the appellants (Innoson) for forgery, altering and stealing. In consequence whereof, the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He claimed that the learned trial judge failed to determine the aforesaid issue.

“The learned trial judge failed to appreciate that the issue as raised divests the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter,” he said.

Mbadugha therefore prayed that the court set aside the decision of the judge and the bench warrant against or for the arrest of the appellant (Innoson) issued and or ordered by the trial judge.

This court processes, according to the Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe,  have been duly served on the EFCC.