A court in Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria has issued a bench warrant for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to arrest two Sri Lankans, Vanguard News Nigeria reported.
Trial Justice Olasumbo Goodluck ordered that the two Sri Lankans, Saththiyaraj Kantharasa and Vinith Ukantharasa, be arrested, after they failed to appear in court to enter their plea to a criminal charge pending against them.
They were accused of forging the passports, national identity card and driving license of the Republic of Malaysia, in connivance with their Nigerian partner, Anthony Adetokunboh.
A statement that was signed by spokesperson for the Commission, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, disclosed that the trio were scheduled to appear before the court on allegations bordering on forgery of travel documents and criminal conspiracy.
However, when the case was mentioned for arraignment, only the 3rd defendant, Adetokunboh, announced his appearance in court, while the 1st and 2nd defendants were absent.
Their lawyer, Nonso Nzedebe, told the court that his clients were aware that the matter was scheduled for arraignment, saying he was not notified of any reason for their absence in court.
The prosecution counsel, Eniekan Ekong, had earlier prayed the court to grant the Commission a bench warrant for their arrest to compel them to attend their trial. In granting the warrant, the trial judge expressed disappointment in the two foreign nationals that despite their knowledge of the rescheduled date for their arraignment, they chose to abscond without any reason.
Justice Goodluck also ruled that a bench warrant be issued against their surety, Olanrewaju Olayiwola Olusola, a Deputy Director with the Federal Ministry of Finance, for him to explain why he should not be remanded in prison custody pending the time the suspects are found. The case was subsequently adjourned to May 27. (Colombo Gazette)