Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd, says he was declared wanted in bad faith.
Mojisola Dada, a judge, declared him wanted on Thursday over his failure to make an appearance in court for his arraignment for the fifth time.
Chukwuma is standing trial in a matter between his company and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He had failed to appear in court for his arraignment on January 17, February 9, March 14 and April 25.
Reacting to the development, Chukwuma accused the judge of trying to “embarrass” him.
“I have expressly stated before that I am not afraid of arraignment but must be arraigned through due process of the law,” he said in the statement issued by Cornel Osigwe, head, corporate communications, Innoson Group.
He said he had challenged the jurisdiction of the Lagos state high court to hear the forgery charge filed by the EFCC on ground of, inter alia, the charge being an “abuse of process.”
“Furthermore, my legal counsel had at the last court hearing on April 25th 2018 notified the court that I had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit at the court of appeal, Lagos division and that the prosecuting counsels which are the EFCC has equally filed their brief at the appellate court. The judge subsequently adjourned the hearing to today, May 24th 2018,” the statement added.
“At the court hearing today, my defence team, also, notified the judge that both parties have filed and exchanged their briefs at the court of appeal and a date has been fixed for hearing of the substantive appeal and prayed the honourable judge to defer to the court of appeal to decide the appeal which is on the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
“Again, my legal team notified the trial court that I had appealed against the order of bench warrant of 9th February 2018 to the court of appeal and as well filed a motion for stay of execution of the order of bench warrant.
“However, the judge failed to grant the prayers of my legal counsel and quickly granted the plea of the prosecuting counsel to declare me wanted without recourse to due process of the law or listen to the submissions of my counsel on why an order declaring me wanted should not be made.
“Declaring me wanted was done in bad faith and is simply to embarrass my personality, defame me and malign my character aimed to distract me from my daily activities in ensuring that Innoson Vehicles continues to produce durable made in Nigeria vehicles.”
He added added that while he is insisting on being tried through the due process of the law, “I have also appealed against the order declaring me wanted and as well filed a motion for the stay of its execution.”