Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos stayed further proceedings in the fraud case brought against the chairman of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma and five others by the police.
Justice Faji held that he was staying further proceedings in the matter in order to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on a pending application that was yet to be determined.
The judge stated at the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, “In view of the pending motion for stay of proceedings at the Supreme Court, this court will wait until it is determined.”
The Police charged them with an alleged N2.4biollion shipping fraud. The case is numbered FHC/L/565c/16.
Others named in the charge are: Innoson Nigeria Limited, Innoson Motors, Charles Chukwu, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.
Trial is yet to begin in the case since it was filed, due to the absence of the accused persons in court and also because of the various interim applications they filed, some of which are on appeal.
According to the judge, the lower court must wait on the Supreme Court where a decision on appeal would have a direct impact on proceedings.
“To do otherwise will amount to an invitation to judicial anarchy,” Justice Faji added.
When the defence counsel, Chief George Uwechue (SAN) informed him of other pending applications, he said: “I cannot do anything. I cannot even cough.”
He adjourned the case until March 12 for mention.
The police had accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.
They were accused of uttering the allegedly falsified shipping documents by tendering same as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank to allegedly obtain a loan of N2.4bn.
The police claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa wharf on October 10, 2013.
The police prosecutor, who signed the charge sheet, U.S. Nwodo, said the offences are contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.
Prosecuting counsel for the police, Jonathan Ajakaiye, who was in court yesterday, confirmed that there was a pending appeal at the Supreme Court.