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Alleged N6.4m Fraud: Court issues bench warrant against Lagos official, Olushola Omotayo

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A Lagos Federal High Court has issued a Bench Warrant against Mr. Soneye Olushola Omotayo, said to be a Deputy Director in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, for his failure to appear before the court, to take his plea on an alleged two count charge of N6, 420 million fraud, filed against him by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi-Lagos.

The court presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko, ordered that the Bench Warrant be issued against the Deputy Director, today, after the defendant failed to appear before the court to take his plea on the charges, and while granting an Ex-parte motion, affidavit in support deposed to by Inspector Kenneth Ugobueze and a written address, filed and argued by Mr. Eliot Ejie, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).

At the resumed hearing of the charges against the Lagos official yesterday, his lawyer, Bunmi Ogunmodede, told the court that his client had prepared to appear before the court to take his plea, but that the defendant’s wife called him yesterday’s night that he was sick and currently in the hospital.

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However, the prosecutor, opposed to the defendant’s lawyer’s submission, saying that such information was not communicated to him, adding that there was no any proof before the court to show that he was ill.

He also told the court that it was clear that the defendant was not prepared to take his defence on the charges against him.

Based on the prosecutor’s submission, he urged the court to issue the Bench Warrant against the Deputy Director, in accordance with section 352 (1)(a) Administration Of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and under the court’s inherent Jurisdiction.

The prosecutor listed the following grounds, while the request for bench warrant should be made against the defendant, which includes: “that the applicant is conducting prosecution in a criminal trial wherein the respondent is the defendant.

“That the charge was duly served on the defendant was through personal service, by the bailiff of this Honourable Court

“That the case came up on 20th March, 2024 and the defendant failed to appear in Court nor offered any sufficient excuse for his absence in Court.

“That the order of this Honourable Court is required to aid the Applicant to attendance of the Defendant in Court.”

Justice Aluko after perusing the court’s record, confirmed that the defendant has never appear before the court, he therefore urged the prosecutor to move the ex-part motion for the bench warrant against the defendant.

Upon the moving the ex-part motion for the Bench Warrant against the defendant by the prosecutor, Justice Aluko held that, the application has merit and same is granted.

The judge thereafter adjourned the matter to October 17, 2024, for report of execution of the bench warrant and arraignment of the defendant.

The charges against the defendant as stated by PSFU in a charge numbered FHC/L/746c/2023, read: “that you Soneye Olusola Omotayo ‘M’, between May and July, 2021, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain a total sum of six million, four hundred and twenty thousand naira (N6,420,000.00), from one Omoyele Samuel Olufemi ‘M’, under the pretence that you were going to procure for him five (5) acres or thirty (30) plots of land at Ogundipe family land, Erimawa Village, behind Redeem Christian Church of God Redemption City, Ogun State, a representation you knew to be false, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1)(c), Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.

“That you Soneye Olusola Omotayo ‘M’, between June and July, 2021, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, with intent to defraud, did convert a total sum of six million, four hundred and twenty thousand naira (N6, 420, 000.00), property of one Omoyele Samuel Olufemi ‘M’, which you fraudulently obtained from him under the pretence of procuring for him five (5) acres or thirty (30) plots of land at Ogundipe family land, Erimawa Village, behind Redeemed Christian Church of God Redemption City, Ogun State, which you never did nor refunded his money, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2)(b), Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”

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