‘$32m fraud’: Court summons lawyer for failing to produce Princess

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has summoned a lawyer Mr O. Awowole to show why he should not be sanctioned for failing to present a defendant, Princess Oluwatoyin Kolade, that he allegedly undertook to produce in court.

Justice Peter Lifu ordered Awowole to appear on Tuesday following Kolade’s failure to honour a hearing notice for her arraignment last Thursday on an alleged $32million fraud charge. The lawyer was also absent when the matter, marked: FHC/L/407C/2019 was called.

Kolade is one of 11 others facing a 10-count charge of $32million fraud preferred against them by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF). The defendants include four Indian men – Prem Garg, Devashish Garg, Bhagwan Simgh Rawat and Mukul Tyagi and two Britons – Marcus Wade and Andrew Fairie, said to be at large.

The others, apart from Kolade, are Metal Africa Steel Products Ltd, Wilben Trade Ltd, Fisolak Global Resources Ltd and Kannu Aditya India Ltd.

At the commencement of proceedings, a Deputy Director from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Akutah Pius, reminded the court that when he applied for a Bench Warrant for the defendants’ arrest, Awowole undertook to produce Kolade in court. Not only did Awowole fail to do so, neither he nor Kolade were present in court, Pius said, arguing that Awowole be sanctioned.

He further prayed the court to renew a bench warrant issued for the defendants by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo who handled the case before her transfer to the court’s Abeokuta division.

Responding to the judge’s query as to why the prosecution failed to produce the other defendants, despite an arrest warrant and an extradition order, Pius explained that the Federal Government was collaborating with Interpol on that, adding that extradition was time consuming.

He stated that his intention was to arraign the defendant that resides in Lagos while the extradition process was ongoing for those abroad.

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