A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of former Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Inde Dikko.
His offence: continued failure to attend court to answer for fraud charge filed against him and two others by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered Dikko’s arrest yesterday.
She said his lawyer, Solomon Akuma (SAN), on the last adjourned date, promised to ensure that his client attend court yesterday only to present a medical report, claiming Dikko was critically ill and on admission in London.
The judge added that otherwise, the prosecution should arrest Dikko and produce him in court on March 16, 2020, which is the next adjourned date for arraignment.
Justice Ojukwu said: “Today, the first defendant is absent in court and the learned senior counsel has informed the court that, based on medical advice, the physician of the first defendant is not supportive of his plane travel.
“Meanwhile, senior counsel has now informed the court that the first defendant is in London. The deponent in the affidavit of facts relied on averred that she had a telephone conversation with the said physician.
“The learned prosecuting counsel applied for a bench warrant and drew the attention of the court to the proceedings of December 10, 2019 and the address on Exhibit NM1 (the medical report tendered by Akuma), which showed the address of the first defendant as 6 Ahmed Musa Crescent, Jabi, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria.
“Indeed, if the first defendant was in London, I believe that his address would have reflected that he is on admission in a hospital in London.
“In order to balance its position, the court is of the view that bench warrant be issued for the arrest of the first defendant for his production before the court.
“Where in the execution of the bench warrant the prosecutor or arresting authority finds that the first defendant is in a hospital in London and the nature of his ill health does not permit such journey, if any, then the bench warrant shall abate.
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“Meanwhile, bench warrant is hereby issued for the arrest of the 1st in this he shall be produced before this court on the execution of the bench warrant in order to stand trial.”
In the charge, Dikko is named, with two others – a former Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, Garba Makarfi and a lawyer as well as owner of Capital Law firm, Umar Hussaini – as defendants.
Dikko, Makarfi and Hussaini are, among others, accused of inducing the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, to pay N1.1 billion (N1,100,952,380.96) into the account of Capital Law Office as a refundable “completion security deposit” for the purchase of 120 units of duplexes as residential accommodation for officers of the NCS.
Hussaini was said to have distributed the money into various bank accounts and for his part in the deal, he was rewarded with $3 million.
At the mention of the case yesterday, his lawyer, Solomon Akuma (SAN), who led Mahmud Magaji (SAN) and others, told the court that his client was unable to attend proceedings.
The lawyer informed the court that his client paid the N300,000 cost awarded against him for wasting the court’s time when he was absent on December 10, 2019 (the last adjourned date).
He drew the court’s attention to an application filed for his client on February 13, 2020, which he termed “affidavit of fact” to which a medical report was attached.
Written by Egbe Buduzhi
For EKPEYE TV © 2020