N82.8m theft: Ruling on bench warrant for April 28

A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday fixed April 28, for ruling on an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking a bench warrant on the managing director of Cross Country Ltd, Mr Bube Okorodudu.
Okorodudu, alongside Cross Country and Car Link Ltd, was charged before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo over an alleged N82.8 million theft.

The defendants are facing an eight-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, forgery and altering.
The EFCC alleged that they stole the money through the fraudulent sale of 17 units of Volkswagen transporter buses belonging to AG Moeller Ltd and Mr Adeloye Olukemi
The commission through its counsel, Mr Emmanuel Jackson, had on March 3 asked the court for a bench warrant against Okorodudu for repeatedly failing to appear before the court to answer the charges against him.
However, during yesterday’s proceedings, counsel to Cross Country and Car Link, Chief Ladi Williams, informed the court that both defendants were not served with the said application.

Williams argued that his clients were legal personalities and had the right to be heard in the proceedings.
He requested for a short adjournment to enable the second and third defendants to be served with the application and file their replies.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Emmanuel Jackson, while opposing the call for adjournment, noted that the bench warrant was being sought against Okorodudu alone.

Jackson said: “We never applied for any warrant against the second and third defendants. So, they have no right to file written addresses on the issues we have raised.
“The balance of convenience will weigh against the state if the defence keeps seeking adjournment even when the defendants are yet to be arraigned.”
In a short ruling, the judge ordered the EFCC to serve the second and third defendants with the said application.
He adjourned the matter till April 28, for ruling on the application.

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