Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the arrest of three Nigerian based
Italian businessmen for allegedly refusing to appear before the court in accordance to it order.
The judge had on June 18 ordered the foreigners to appear before him to answer to charges of forgery made against them by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
The three Italians, who are alta ego of a Construction firm, Borini Prono & Company Nigeria Limited: Paolo Prono, Gianfranco Albertazzi and one A. Prono, however failed to come to court on Friday as ordered.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday the prosecutor, Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni urged the court to issue an arrest warrant against them,
She based her application on Secton 349 of Administrative of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
Mrs. Bode-Ayeni also informed the court that since the charges was filed and served on the Italians, they have allegedly refused and failed to appear before the court.
She insisted that unless the court issued an arrest warrant, the defendants will continue to refuse to appear before the court.
In opposing the application, counsel to the Italians’ construction firm, Mr. G. E. Ojokolo, told the court that he only represented their company and that the Defendants were not aware of the charge against them.
He pleaded with the court not to issue arrest warrant against the Italians.
The lawyer also told the court that the defendants have filed and served a preliminary objection to the charge against them.
He therefore urged the court to to grant the prosecutor’s request.
However, Justice Allagoa, in turning down Ojeikhudua request, said: “court orders are meant to be obey. At the last sitting I ordered the defendants to be in court today.
“Before their application can be heard, they must appear before me.
“Consequently, arrest warrant is hereby issued against all the defendants”.
The judge has adjourned till September 24, 2021, for the execution of the arrest warrant.
The Italians, were initially charged before Justice Muhammed Liman, by the AGF on February 18, 2021, alongside their company, Borini Prono & Company Nigeria Limited, on charges bordering on forgery.
AGF had in the charged marked FHC/L/338c/2020, accused them of forging the signature of one Christopher Uzodike, as well as forging several invoices belonging to his company, Land Technology Limited.
They were said to have forged the company’s invoices with serial numbers 00019; 00024; 00012; 00139 and 0034 and Mr. Uzodike’s signature, with an intent that it may be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of Mr. Christopher Uzodike.
The defendants were alleged to have committed the offense between 2008 and 2009, in Lagos State.
The Offences, according to the AGF are contrary to sections 3(6) and 1(2)(c) and punishable under section 1(10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.