N82 m fraud: EFCC fails to secure bench warrant against transporter
An Ikeja High Court yesterday refused to grant a request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of a popular transporter and owner of Cross Country, Bube Okorodudu.
In his ruling, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo dismissed the application, which was filed by the EFCC counsel, Mr Emmanuel Jackson.
The EFCC had requested for the warrant, following Okorodudu’s refusal to appear before the court to take his plea.
Okorodudu and his transport firm, Cross Country Ltd, are charged with alleged N82.8 million theft. They are charged alongside another company, Car Link Ltd. They are facing an eight-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and forgery.
In the ruling, the judge held that an accused presence was not mandatory at the hearing of a preliminary objection.
“The Court of Appeal held that the presence of the accused can be dispensed with pending the hearing and determination of the application challenging the charge. The lower court is bound by the decision of the higher court. Therefore, the invitation to issue the bench warrant is declined and the application is hereby refused,” he said.
Lawal-Akapo adjourned until May 7, for hearing of Okorodudu’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
In the application, the EFCC alleged that the accused stole the money through the fraudulent sale of 17 units of Volkswagen transporter buses, belonging to AG Moeller Ltd and Mr Adeloye Olukemi.