By Michael Ojo
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos have reserved judgment till April 10,2018 in an alleged conspiracy and stealing of $1.630 million involving Emirates Airlines and six others.
Justice Mohammed Idriss fixed the new date on Thursday for judgement after parties adopted their respective written addresses .
The prosecution counsel Michael O’Song in his submission said said that based on the contradiction in the evidences of the defendants and thier statements when they were interrogated by the police.
Michael said in view of an overwhelming evidence against the defendants urge the court to convict the defendants as charged.
The defendant’s leading counsel Awal Kalu SAN urge the court to discontenance the evidencell of the prosecution as it amount to ordinary hear say evidence. He urged the court to discharge the defendants.
Joined alongside the airline in the eleven count charge were Pathfinder International Ltd, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, Abayomi Adekanbi Abiola, Isiaka Adegoke Adedeji, Awonubi Abayomi, and Jennifer Eze.
Others were Obinna Onyeukwu Onyenso, Mohammed Yousouf, George Ikpekhia, and Haffeez Azeem.
The defendants were accused of conspiring and stealing four bags with tag numbers EK 428682, EK 423683, EK 650162, and EK 650161 one of which contained $1.630 million on December 19, 2007 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
The prosecution said the defendants tagged and collected the bags from Mr. Orji.
One of the charges read, “That you, Emirates Airlines, Pathfinders International Limited, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, Abayomi Adekambi Abiola, Isiaka Adegoke Adedeji, Awonubi Abayomi, George Ipekhia and others now at large on or about the 19th day of December, 2007 at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired among yourselves to commit a felony to wit: stealing four bags with tag number EK 428682, EK 428583, EK 650162, EK 650161, tagged and collected by you from Prince Chu Ikem Orji, one of which contained the sum of $1,630,000 on the promise of keeping them intact for onward delivery to him at Guangzhou China and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 516 of the criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
According to Mr. O’Song, upon complaint of non delivery of the bags containing the funds, the Sales Manager of Emirates Airlines, Mr. Adedeji issued a letter of undertaking dated November 2008 and addressed to the commissioner of police special fraud unit promising to produce the missing bags.
Having failed to fulfill the undertaking, the defendants were arraigned in March 2012 before Mohammed Idris, a federal judge.
In July 2012, the defendants filed a motion seeking to quash the charges on the grounds that the charges were an abuse of court process, did not disclose any prima facie case against them, and that the missing funds were proceeds of money laundering.
In his ruling delivered on January 21, 2013, the judge dismissed the motion.
According to justice Idris, the court is obliged to conduct summary trial of the accused without proof of evidence, as it is not a requirement for summary trials as provided under Section 33(2) of the Federal High Court Act.
“I am of the view therefore that attaching a proof of evidence to a charge sheet in criminal proceedings instituted before the Federal High Court is an anomaly which should not be allowed to detract from the aim and objective of the summary trial procedure,” said Mr. Idris.
“Arising from the above, I am of the view that the issue whether or not the charges discloses a prima facie case is premature and completely irrelevant. There are no materials before the court to enable it conclude that the charge constitutes an abuse of the process of this court ”
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to charge pressed against them .