A Federal high court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria today adjourned till 14 January 2019 for the arraignment of former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo for allegedly laundering the sum $153,310,000 while the former Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke and one Ben Otti that supposed be arraigned with him was alleged to be at large.
Others to be arraigned alongside the former bank boss are Dauda Lawal, Lanre Adesanya and Stanley Lawson.
However when the matter was mentioned today, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, prosecutor Barrister Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that Nnamdi Okonkwo and Dauda Lawal were present in court while Lanre Adesanya and Stanley Lawson were absent.
Consequently he urged the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendants who were absent to enable the prosecution get them to attend trial.
The counsel representing the absentee defendants, Mr Ademola Adesina urged the court not issue bench warrant because their absence is not deliberate as the two of them are abroad for medical treatment and once they are through they will come to court.
He then asked the judge that the case be adjourned.
The two senior advocates, Dr Hassan Liman and Ishaka Dikko appearing for the second defendant Dauda Lawal told the court that they are worried about the liberty of their client, as there is fear that he may be arrested after leaving the court premises therefore need the assurance of the prosecution that his right will not be violated.
Other two senior Advocates Mr Paul Erokoro and Dr Dapo Olanipekun appearing for Nnamdi Okonkwo also exercise the same fear but in his response Mr Oyedepo urge the defence lawyers to give undertaking that they are going to produce the defendants next adjourned date.
The presiding Judge Muslim Hassan, while adjourning till 14th of January, 2019 for the arraignment of the defendants ordered that the right of the defendants should not be tampered with.
In a 14 count charge filed before the court by EFCC prosecutor Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, it was alleged that Nnamdi Okonkwo, Dauda Lawal ,Lanre Adesanya, Stanley Lawson and (Dieziani Alison Madueke and Ben Otti now at) large between 2014 and 2015 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the court conspired amongst themselves to conceal in Fidelity Bank Plc the total sum of $153,310,000 which sum they reasonably ought to know forms part of unlawful activity to wit: corruption and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) 15(2) (a) of the money laundering (prohibition) Act2011as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.