Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the arrest of a British national, James Nolan for jumping bail and failing to appear for trial.
Nolan, a Director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) is standing trial alongside Lurgi Consult Limited and others, in a money laundering case to the tune of $9.6 billion.
Delivering a ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Mohammed stated that Nolan broke the terms of his bail conditions offered him by the court and therefore revoked the bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
A statement by the EFCC said the court also ordered his surety to appear in court on the next adjourned date, to justify why the bail bond should not be forfeited to the court.
Prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, had earlier prepared to proceed with the cross examination of Prosecuting Witness 1, Temitope Erinomo, when the court was informed that the second defendant was nowhere to be found and efforts to ascertain his whereabouts proved abortive.
Sanga expressed dismay over the absence of Nolan in court, saying the first defendant, Lurgi Consult Limited, had never been represented in court, as a corporate body, since the matter started.
He also told the court that investigations by the EFCC showed that the property given by the surety, in Gwagwalada, Abuja, was not worth N100 million. He prayed the court to restrain the defence team from further delaying the case.
Responding to the absence of Nolan in court, defence counsel, Micheal Ajara claimed that his sudden disappearance was strange.
“My Lord, the defendant in question has always appeared in court except for the last adjourned date that he was sick.
“His medical report shows that he has bipolar, a history of mental illness and it is uncertain if the defendant is fine. We have notified the police, including the prosecution, and all efforts to ascertain his whereabouts has proven abortive,” he said.
He prayed the court to grant the defence time to ascertain his whereabouts.
Justice Mohammed affirmed that, “the court of law does not act in uncertainty except Ajara presents facts. What is clear to the court right now, is that the second defendant is nowhere to be found and there is no justification with certainty of his whereabouts,” he said.
Sanga prayed the court that the bail of the second defendant be revoked, a bench warrant issued for his arrest and the bail bond be forfeited.
His prayers were granted.