The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has directed that criminal summons be issued on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah and his company, Capital Oil and Gas Limited in Charge No. FHC/L/383C/2019, which is pending before Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
The Federal Government of Nigeria commenced a criminal prosecution against Senator Ubah in an 8-count charge on account of his indebtedness to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria sometimes in 2019, which includes alleged conspiracy in making false claims in relation to the actual values of certain assets transferred to AMCON under a consent judgment obtained in 2012 contrary to Section 54(1) of the AMCON Act.
At the resumption of the proceedings on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Tunde Lawal from the law firm of Kunle Adegoke (SAN) informed the Court that the Defendants had been served with the amended charge and hearing notice of the business of the day. He also told the Court that at the last adjourned date, Senator Ubah was not in Court, despite a hearing notice of that date served on him.
On that basis, he sought an issuance of a bench warrant against the lawmaker.
But, Counsel to the Defendants, Ifeoma Esom, informed the Court that the matter was for report of settlement/plea and that they were unformed that morning that settlement talks had failed and it was on the basis of settlement that the 1st Defendant was not in Court.
The prosecutor objected to the defense counsel’s argument, saying settlement cannot be reported in a criminal matter, as parties may choose to settle outside the Court but that cannot form part of the proceedings in a criminal case and the best that can happen is a plea bargain.He added that settlement outside court does not give the 1st Defendant, Senator Ubah, the authority to be absent from Court.
The Court declined to issue a bench warrant but ordered that summons be served on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah through his counsel, to appear in Court on the next date.
The Court also warned that a warrant will be issued for his arrest, if Senator Ubah fails to appear in Court at the next adjourned date.
The Court then adjourned the matter to 18th October 2023 for arraignment.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah is The lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the National Assembly in the newly inaugurated 10th Senate, having been re-elected at the February 2023 Senatorial election, under the platform of the Young Progressive Party.