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Kwara court issues bench warrant against Lagos businessman

• Judge urges parties in Ile Arugbo suit to explore an out-of-court settlement
• Adjourns hearing till January 24

Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of a Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin yesterday issued a bench warrant of arrest against a Lagos- based businessman, Alhaji Isiaka Jimoh, following his inability to appear for his trial in a criminal charge instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had sometimes in September last year arraigned Jimoh and his company, Chemtech Chemicals Limited, on a two-count charge of obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of N155 million.

At the hearing of the matter yesterday, lead counsel to the defence, Adeola Omotunde, said: “The matter was slated today for cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, but however, the first defendant is critically ill; he was flown abroad on December 20, 2019, and as we speak, my Lord, the first defendant is on admission.”

Omotunde, therefore, urged the court to vacate the proceedings of the day and adjourn the matter for the cross-examination of the witness.

However, the prosecuting counsel, Christopher Mschelia, said: “The defendant has violated the bail conditions granted unto him, part of his bail condition is that he must be available for his trial. I urge this court to revoke the bail granted to him and order that the bench warrant be issued against him.”

Justice Oyinloye in his ruling said there was no proper notification before the court to show why the defendant would not be present at today’s proceedings.

He said: “The defendant has violated Section 191 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Law of Kwara State, as there was no letter informing this court about the illness of the defendant. Any person on bail is enjoying limited freedom, I see no reason why this court should not be notified about his whereabouts.

“The bail of the defendant is hereby revoked and the EFCC is also directed to arrest and produce the defendant in court while the sureties should appear in the next adjourned date to show cause why they should not be charged for contempt of court.”

He, therefore, adjourned the case till February 5, 2020.

In another development, a high court sitting in Ilorin yesterday advised all parties in the disputed Ile-Arugbo case to explore all avenues of an out-of-court settlement in the interest of peace and justice.

Justice Abiodun Adebara gave the advice while addressing counsel and parties in the case.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Justice Adebara ordered that a notice of summons be pasted on the Police Headquarters board and state Commissioner of Police office for him to appear in court on the next hearing.

He, however, adjourned the case till January 24, 2020, for hearing proper of the pending applications and interim injunction.

Earlier, counsel to the claimant, Abdulazeez Ibrahim (SAN), who made an attempt for the court to give an interim order for another injunction, said that interim injunctions could be extended within seven days of making the order.

“We are ready for settlement as advised and would make some approach. “We are peace-loving people. So, we will explore all possible opportunities for settlement,” he said.

Also, counsel to the state government, Salman Jawando (SAN), said: “We are ready if the parties involved show interest. Settlement will be in the interest of Kwara.

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