By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has filed four counts of alleged N2.4bn shipping fraud against Innoson Nigeria Limited before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The charge marked FHC/L/565c/16 filed before Justice Saliu Saidu has five others as defendants.
They are Innocent Chukwuma, Charles Chukwu, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.
The police 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.
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, Chief 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.