8th December, 2010
An Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Amobi Nzelu, who was instrumental to the efforts of the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoaka, to frustrate the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, from ascending the Presidential seat following the protracted ill health of late President Yarâ€™Adua, is in the eye of the storm.
The controversial lawyer was alleged to have defrauded his client to the tune of 6.8 million Naira and had been dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
However, Mr. Nzelu who was billed to be arraigned on Wednesday by the Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission, failed to show up in court. His absence angered the court to the extent that the presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole threatened to issue a Bench warrant against the accused person.
Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Wahab Shittu moved an application for a Bench warrant to be issued on Nzelu in line with Section 210 of the Criminal Procedure Act, since all efforts to secure his appearance in court had failed. He also based his application for a Bench warrant on the accused on the fact that the Court bailiff had also deposed to an affidavit of non-service adding that since the case was a criminal matter, he had to be served personally and not through a representative.
Justice Kolawole however held that since the matter was coming up for the first time and given the accused personâ€™s position as a lawyer, the court was prepared to give accused benefit of doubt stating further that he probably was unaware of todayâ€™s proceeding.
Consequently, the Judge ordered that a fresh hearing notice with the charge sheet attached should be served on the accused and if not found, he should be served in his office through his Secretary.
By Nnamdi Felix/Abuja