By Onozure Dania
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has issued a bench warrant against the former governor of Enugu State, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, over alleged misappropriation of public funds while in office.
Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order, yesterday due to the former governor’s failure to appear before the court to take his plea in a criminal charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , EFCC, over alleged N5.3 billion fraud.
Justice Obiozor had on Thursday; last week ordered that the former governor should appear before him to take his plea, on the alleged fraud.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Nnamani’s lawyer, Abubakar Samsudeen, informed the court of the inability of his client to be in court.
He informed the court that Nnamani was yet to return from his medical treatment abroad.
Samsudeen however pleaded with the court for an adjournment to enable his client return from outside the country to face trial.
The EFCC’s lawyer, Kelvin Uzozie, urged the court to discountenance Nnamani lawyer’s applicant, saying that court order is meant to be obeyed.
While ruling on the application, Justice Obiozor, conceded to the submission of the EFCC lawyer, and issued arrest warrant against Nnamani.
The judge rejected the plea by the defence lawyer for longer adjournment to enable the firm adequate time to contact Nnamani.
Consequently, the case was adjourned till December 14, for further hearing.
Justice Obiozor is the fourth judge to handle the case, which began in 2007.
The case has been handled by Justices Tijani Abubakar, Charles Archibong (retd.), and Mohammed Yunusa, who was suspended by the National Judicial Council over corruption allegations.
The trial has been stalled since July 5, 2015, when some of the defendants entered into a plea bargain and forfeited their assets before Justice Yunusa.