By Egufe Yafugborhi
A Rivers State Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has reserved ruling in a case of alleged obtaining by false pretence brought against the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, NLNG, its former Managing Director, Mr. Tony Attah, and General Counsel, Akachukwu Nwokedi, to February 7, 2022.
Arguments commenced Wednesday before the trial magistrate, Blessing Vick-Jumbo, in the preliminary objection by the NLNG, Attah, and Nwokedi, challenging the criminal summons, issued against them by one of its vendors, Macobarb International Ltd and its Managing Director, Mr. Ogboru Shedrak, as complainants.
Arguing the objection, Dr. Bayo Adaralegbe contended that the complaint was based on a contract awarded by NLNG to the vendor, which NLNG terminated due to lack of performance.
The vendor, it will be recalled had petitioned no fewer than 10 federal and state governments agencies, characterising the dispute between parties as one of breach of contract.
He submitted that the facts could not have given rise to the offence as obtaining by false pretence under the Criminal Code of Rivers State as alleged by the complaint.
Counsel to NLNG argued further that the complaint failed to satisfy Section 89(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Rivers State, which stipulated that there had to first be a police investigation before the court could deal with private prosecution.
Responding, Mr. M. Uzoma, who appeared for the complainants, argued that despite the objection, the court should proceed with prosecution.
Ruling was, however, fixed for February 7, 2022.
An oil services firm, Macobarb International Limited and two others, had dragged the NLNG and two others, Attah and Nwokedi, to court over alleged breach of contract.
In a criminal summons before the court, filed against NLNG, the firm claimed infractions through obtaining by false pretence.