Police Slam N2.4b Shipping Fraud Charge On Innoson
By Ebitonye Akpodigha
Chairman of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Mr Innocent Chukwuma, has been charged with a four-count charge bordering on shipping fraud to the tune of N2.4 billion by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris.
The suit, marked FHC/L/565c/16 filed, was filed before Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and has five others as defendants, who are Innocent Chukwuma, Charles Chukwu, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.
According to the police, the accused persons conspired 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.
When the matter came up on Monday before Justice Saidu, the prosecuting counsel for the police, Mr J.I. Ajakaiye, informed the court that he had served the charge sheet on all the defendants through their counsel.
He said he had served Innoson Nigeria Limited and Chukwuma since October 21, while the 3rd to 6th defendants were only served on Monday morning through their counsel.
Counsel for Innoson Nigeria Limited, Mr George Uwechue (SAN), confirmed the receipt of the charge sheet by his client but said he needed time to study it.
The other defence counsel, Prof. C. Mbadugha and Mr Olusola Abioye, aligned themselves with Uwechue.
The prosecutor did not oppose the defence application for an adjournment.
Consequently, Justice Saidu adjourned further proceedings in the case till November 25, 2016.