A magistrates’ court sitting in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of nine suspects over alleged misappropriation of N8.7m that belongs to a social club.
The suspects are Lawrence Arinze, Abba Ofoeme, Alphonsus Ohazulike, Romanus Ekedozie, Reuben Akalaka, Michael Ikegulu, Gabby Nwankwo, Darlinton Adibe, and Christian Odoemena.
The defendants in suit number MID/691C/2018 were charged for converting N8.7m belonging to the Peoples Club in Awada Obosi in the Idemili North LGA between November 6, 2017 and July 26, 2018.
The defendants were absent in court when their matter came up.
The counsel for the seventh and eighth defendants, Chidiebere Eze, told the court that his clients had earlier appealed that the matter should be transferred and for stay of execution pending the outcome of the appeal.
The counsel for the Peoples Club, Jideofor Okongwu, asked the court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the suspects, noting that the court should invoke sections 101, 99 and 100 of the Criminal Code that empowered it to issue such a warrant against suspects who refuse to appear before it.
The presiding magistrate, O. N. Kanu, after listening to both counsels, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendants and adjourned the case to November 29 for further hearing.
Speaking with journalists after the court session, Okongwu said no letter or appeal could stop the court from performing its functions.
He said, “Chairman, Peoples Club, Onitsha branch, Chief Chuks Onwuazor, brought a complaint of stealing of about N8.7m belonging to the Peoples Club of Nigeria against one Chief Lawrence Arinze and eight others.
“The court summoned them to appear before it this morning (Monday); unfortunately, they disrespected the court and failed to appear before the court. This is a temple of justice and no one is above the law; they are not presidents or governors who have the immunity from being prosecuted.
“Any human being that is summoned must appear before the court. So, failure to appear shows disrespect and contempt to that particular court. The police will do their job; anywhere the suspects are found, they will be arrested and brought to court; that is the position of the law.”
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