The Federal Government has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to issue a bench warrant against the chairman of Innoson Nigeria Limited Mr Innocent Chukwuma and some of his employees.
Others named in the charge are Charles Chukwuma, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines and Anajekwu Sunny.
The Police had earlier charged them with an alleged N2.4billion shipping fraud before Justice Ayokunle Faji, but the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), later took over the case.
The prosecution is praying the court to order the arrest of Innocent Chukwuma and his staff for failing to turn up to take their plea in the criminal charge.
On Monday, Chukwuma and his staff were absent in court.
Prosecuting Counsel Mr Julius Ajakaiye moved an application urging the court to order the absent defendants’ arrested.
He said the charge was served on them through a court-ordered February 8, 2016, substituted service following the AGF’s take-over of the case.
Consequently, he said the defendants were yet to take their plea and should, therefore, be compelled to appear.
He added that an April 12, 2016 amended charge could not be served on the absent defendants.
Ajakaiye urged the court to grant his application by ordering their arrest.
But defence counsel George Uwechue (SAN) and Prof. C. Mbadugha prayed the court to dismiss the application.
They argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to issue the warrant against the defendants “because they were not properly summoned before the court”.
Justice Faji adjourned until July 3 for ruling on the bench warrant.