A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, Monday, dismissed an application asking the court to vacate the warrant issued against an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo.
Ogunbambo is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Energy Limited over an alleged N979.6 million fuel subsidy fraud.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo Onigbanjo had issued a bench warrant on Ogunbambo on February 10, 2014 for failing to appear before the court for the continuation of his trial.
Counsel to Ogunbambo, Raphael Oluyede had applied for a vacation of the order, praying the court to stay execution of the bench warrant pending the hearing and determination of his client’s appeal against it.
Oluyede had also asked the court to restrain the EFCC from arresting his client.
However, counsel to the EFCC, Emmanuel Jackson, urged the court to dismiss the application on the ground that it was an abuse of court process.
In his ruling, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo held that the application was misconceived as there was no exceptional circumstances warranting the court to vacate the bench warrant.
“This is a part-heard criminal proceedings in which trials have been adjourned several times because of the absence of the first defendant and to the detriment of the second defendant,” he said.
The trial judge stressed that the purpose of the warrant is to ensure that Ogunbambo is brought to court for speedy conclusion of the trial and consequently, dismissed the application.
He urged the EFCC to proceed with efforts being made to effect his arrest.
Justice Onigbanjo adjourned the matter till June 25, 2014 for continuation of trial.
It would be recalled that the EFCC counsel had told the court on April 10 that information available to the commission indicated that Ogunbambo had fled to Canada to evade prosecution.