A lawyer, Dubem Ugwunweze, has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, not to transfer a case already pending at the Federal High Court Lagos to Abuja.
Ugwunweze made the call in a petition addressed to the I-G in Abuja.
While the I-G is the complainant in the case filed on behalf of Emis Planet Investment Solutions Limited, with charge number: FHC/C/142C/2020 before Justice I. N. Oweibo, Rafic Saab, a Lebanese and Director in the company, is the defendant.
Ugwunweze, who is a counsel to the company, in a petition dated December 1, 2020, complained against the attempt by Saab to prevent the cause of justice.
He said: “On September 11th, 2019, our client presented a petition against Rafic Saab which you approved for investigation by Force Criminal Investigation Department Lagos.
“After a very thorough and painstaking investigation by the police, the case was charged to court on June 11th, 2020, against your suspect.
“The defendant/accused, who was granted administrative bail by the police, refused to honour police invitation as well as his surety for the purpose of arraignment and began to undermine and jeopardise the criminal justice administration, including the bail system.”
Ugwunweze explained that the case before Justice Oweibo of the Federal High Court Lagos had been adjourned on three consecutive occasions as a result of the refusal of Saab to appear in court for trial.
He said: “The last two adjournments were on October 6th, 2020 and November 26th, 2020.
“The case was further adjourned to December 10th, 2020 for arraignment and plea.”
The lawyer said instead of appearing in court, Saab, who was wanted by the police, and his surety, went underground and wrote a petition to the I-G’s office, praying for transfer of the case to Abuja for investigation and termination of the case pending in court.
Ugwunweze, who called the attention of the I-G to the fact that the investigation had already been concluded on the matter, said there was no justification for transfer when the case was pending in court.
“It does not give the image of police any respectability before the public if offenders are allowed to escape the penalty they richly deserve by terminating a pending case which it charged to court,” he said.
According to him, it is therefore necessary to allow the case to remain in Lagos for the continuation of the trial which is fixed for December 10th, 2020 for arraignment and plea.
Emis Planet Investment Solution Limited, through its counsel, Ugwunweze, had in the September 11, 2019 petition made a criminal complaint against Saab.
The company, according to the petition, was incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 on June 17, 2015.
The firm, which has its objective of carrying on business of trading, import, export, marketing, sales and distribution of air-conditioning units and general goods, has its Directors as Maroun Dina as Chairman and Chief Executive, and Saab, who is said to hold the ordinary shares of the company.
Saab was alleged to have among others diverted proceeds of sales in a business agreement with Daikin African Group to the tune of $5 million to Lebanon, which were paid for by the company and made secret profits he never disclosed to the company.
The petition said Saab owed a fiduciary duty to the company and fraudulently breached it by using his privileged position and knowledge to induce the transfer of funds paid to the company for contracts executed in Nigeria to EMIS offshore account in Lebanon.
In a four-count charge with number: FHC/C/142C/2020, Saab was accused of conspiracy to defraud the company between January and April 15, 2019 and committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of Advanced Fee Fraud Act 2006.
He was also being charged for false pretence with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of $5 million, property of Emis Planet Ltd and diverted same to Lebanon and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of Advanced Fee Fraud Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of same Act 2006, among others.
However, on December 10 when the matter came up before Justice Oweibo, Saab was not in court.
The prosecuting counsel, Morufu Animashaun, applied that a warrant of arrest be issued against Saab and the prayer was granted by the judge.