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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Court denies bid for extradition order by foreigners over N9.4bn Fraud

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The Federal High Court in Lagos presided by Justice Daniel Osiagor has dismissed an application filed by two Lebanese, Nabil Maukarzel and Halawi Fidaa, who were accused of defrauding Ecobank Plc of the sum of N9.4 billion, seeking to quash the criminal charge filed against them by the police.

The two foreigners, who are currently residing in Spain, were charged before the court on allegations of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of N9,441,824,102.14 billion, by the men of the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department (ForceCID) Lagos, in a charge marked FHC/L/260c/2021

During the trial, the defendants became elusive and failed to appear in court to take their plea on the allegations against them.

Following their failure to appear in court, the police, through its prosecutor Sunday Ayodele applied for an extradition order against them, which the court granted.

The lawyer of the defendants, Mesuabari Josiah, approached the court with two applications to quash the charge and to upturn the order made by the court.

The lawyer also filed a notice of appeal against the extradition order and a motion for a stay of the order.

Ayodele, in response to the defendants’ applications, argued that the court could only grant the defendants’ reliefs after they’ve submitted themselves to the court’s jurisdiction and took their plea on the charges against them.

Ruling on the applications, Justice Osiagor held that the “fugitive defendants, who refuse to submit themselves to court, have no right of the audience”.

Justice Osiagor, after that, dismissed the two defendants’ applications for lacking merit.

The police had accused the defendants of defrauding Ecobank Plc of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14 billion.

They were also accused, with others now at large, of having disappeared into thin air after defrauding the bank of the said sum on the pretence of using the money to import goods into Nigeria.


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