Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of Innoson Motors Ltd, on Wednesday in Lagos failed to appear for his scheduled arraignment for the sixth time over alleged fraud.
Innoson was scheduled to appear before a new judge, Justice Olusola Williams, at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Mojisola Dada, the judge initially assigned to hear the case, had withdrawn following Innoson’s February 12 petition to the National Judicial Council.
The NJC while absolving Dada of any wrongdoing, recommended that the case be reassigned by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, to another judge, and was subsequently reassigned to Williams.
Following the absence of the automobile CEO in court on Wednesday, Williams asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to produce him for arraignment on the new date of sitting.
The judge said: “I believe it is the job of the prosecution to bring the defendant to court.
“The judge is just to make an order that he should appear in court but we cannot enforce the order. The responsibility still lies on the EFCC to make sure he is in court.”
NAN also reports that Innoson had previously failed to appear before Justice Dada five times and had been declared wanted by the judge following a request by the EFCC.
Earlier during proceedings, Anselem Ozioko, the lead EFCC counsel, had informed the court that Innoson and his legal representatives were absent in court.
Ozioko said: “My Lord, it appears that the second defendant and my learned colleagues from the other side are not in court.
“He has refused to come for his arraignment for the sixth time even when the matter was before your learned brother, Justice Dada, despite all efforts to bring him here.
“He has also filed seven different applications in between the period he was supposed to be arraigned.”
The prosecutor said that the applications filed by Innoson to allegedly stall his arraignment are an application challenging the jurisdiction of court, an application to disqualify himself from the charge before the court.
Others are an order of stay of execution on bench warrant issued by the court and a stay of execution of warrant of arrest.
Ozioko also informed the court that Innoson had refused to honor the court’s order by his continuous absence in court after he was granted an administrative bail by the EFCC.
He said: “My Lord, in view of the absence of the defendant, we shall be asking for an adjournment date.”
Williams, however, adjourned the case until Oct. 10 for arraignment.
Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd., were to be arraigned on a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretences, stealing and forgery in a transaction with Guaranty Trust Bank.
According to the charge, the defendants committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.
The EFCC alleged that the defendants with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain by false pretences containers of motorcycle, spare parts and raw materials, property of GTB from Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, Apapa, Lagos.
They are alleged to have fraudulently induced staff of Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to deliver to them via their clearing agents the goods which were imported from China in the name of GTB by falsely pretending that they were authorized by the bank to clear the goods.
The prosecution claimed that the defendants in order to facilitate the fraud forged a bill of lading numbered 598286020 of Maersk Line Limited and 11007950841 of Mutsui O.S.K Lines by knowingly putting a false GTB stamp and signature of the bank staff.
The alleged forgery was in order that the forged documents be used or acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person within Lagos or elsewhere.
The offences contravened Sections 1(1)(b), 1(3), and 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2016 and Sections 309(9), 388, 465 and 467(1)(j) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2003.
Q2: Dangote Cement invests $3bn on plants, grinding terminals across Africa
…. employs 27,952 Nigerians in 2017
Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Joe Makoju has revealed that the company has invested a whopping $3B to build manufacturing plants and import/grinding terminals across Africa.
The company’s operations, according to Makoju are in Cameroon (1.5Mta clinker grinding), Congo (1.5Mta), Ghana (1.5Mta import), Ethiopia (2.5Mta), Senegal (1.5Mta), Sierra Leone (0.7Mta import), South Africa (2.8Mta), Tanzania (3.0Mta), Zambia (1.5Mta).
For the second quarter under review, Makoju also revealed that while total Nigeria sales volumes went up by 13.9 per cent to 7.8Mt, Pan-African volumes reduced by 3.9 per cent, mainly due to shutdown in Tanzania.
In all, the company, which employed 27,952 workers in Nigeria in 2017 had its revenue increased by 16.9 per cent and its earning per share also increased by 3 per cent to N6.60 kobo per share for the second quarter, ended in June 30, 2018.
Makoju said: ““Our first-half performance was very strong and driven by an excellent recovery in Nigeria, where our sales volumes increased by nearly 14 per cent and revenues rose by more than 18 per cent. Pan-African operations saw a slight fall in volumes but both revenues and EBITDA increased because of better pricing and currency conversion effects.
In addition, we achieved the largest-ever issuance of Commercial Paper by a Nigerian company when we issued ₦50B Series 1 & 2 Notes at the end of June, with a discount rate that reflected the strength of our Company and its excellent credit ratings.
Of course, our strong performance has been overshadowed by the tragic and heartbreaking events in Ethiopia. I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues Deep Kamra, Beakal Alelign and Tsegaye Gidey and offer our sincere condolences to their families.”
It would be recalled that the Chairman of Dangote Cement, at the company’s recently concluded annual general meeting (AGM), Aliko Dangote attributed the 31 per cent increase in the company’s revenue, of N805.6 billion, for the 2017 financial year, to its pan African operations growth which also recorded a significant increase in revenue from N195 billion to N258.4 billion in 2017.
He said: “Pan African operations increased volumes by 8.4 per cent, with Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa all performing strongly and close to their operating capacity”
Noting that the company experienced some challenges in operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote said the Management responded in robust fashion and benefited from “…the diversity we have created across our business and because of our local knowledge and attitudes towards doing business in neighboring countries in Africa.”
Explaining the rationale behind the success recorded by the Dangote Cement’s revenue, the acting Group Chief executive, Joe Makoju said “… the increase was helped by our decision to increase our use of local coal in Nigeria and that also helped to improve our fuel security, maintain production uptime and it reduced our need for foreign currency. We source coal from our parent company, Dangote Industries and from another Nigerian supplier, and we are very happy with the way this has worked out for us because it has enabled us to phase out the use of expensive low pour fuel oil in our kilns and also to reduce our use of imported coal”
On the future growth plans for the Group, Makoju said “…As it stands, I think we will focus on building new grinding plants along the coast of West Africa, and ensure we have clinker export facilities in Nigeria. We are looking at the possibility of two new lines in Nigeria, perhaps by the end of 2020 and its likely these will be in Edo state and Obajana, with a combined capacity of 6Mta”
Fidelity Bank donates N50m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund
Fidelity Bank Plc on Monday donated N50 million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) as part of contributions to improving security of lives and property in the State. The cheque was presented by the Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos and South-West, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe to the Executive Secretary, LSSTF, Dr. Abdulrassaq Balogun at a brief ceremony in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.
Onyeali-Ikpe who commended the Lagos State Government for its commitment to preserving public peace, and protecting lives and property of Lagosians, said security was paramount to business success. According to her no activity can thrive in an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity.
“We are encouraged to support this initiative and kudos must be given to the Lagos State Government for the peace we are enjoying in the state today. gWe have over 80 branches, about 2,000 staff and millions of customers in the state. We are concerned about their safety all the time” she stated
The Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, commended the bank for the gesture, saying that Fidelity had been consistent in its support to the Fund from inception to date. According to him the bank has donated a total of N175 million to the LSSTF since the fund was established. “Thank you Fidelity Bank. We are most appreciative of this and what is most touching for us is your consistency. You have always come to our aid every year unsolicited”.
He assured the Fidelity Bank officials that the donation would be used judiciously and reiterated the commitment of the Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to ensuring that we have a safe Lagos State.
CBN sustains Forex intervention, injects fresh $210m
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 injected the sum of $210 million into the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market.
The Bank offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got the sum of $55 million, just as $55 million was also allocated for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel allowance (BTA).
In a statement, the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the figures and restated the apex bank resolve to continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.
Mr. Okorafor maintained that the continued forex intervention is to ensure that the Bank meets genuine customers’ requests in various segments of the market.
It will be recalled that last Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the CBN intervened to the tune of $210 million, to cater for requests in the wholesale segment of the market.
Meanwhile, the naira continued to exchange at an average of N360/$1 in the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the market on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.
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