Protest as Nigerian court strikes out $8.8 million fraud suit against two Britons

Federal_High_Court

An Ikeja High Court has struck out a case of $8.8 million fraud brought against two Britons, Deepak Khilani and Sushil Chandra, by the Lagos State Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Messrs. Khilani and Chandra were arraigned in 2015 for allegedly defrauding their Nigerian business partners of $8.8 million in a company — Green Fuels Ltd.

Striking out the suit, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye said: “The State represented by the Attorney General has the absolute powers to initiate and discontinue a criminal proceeding.

“It is not for this court to mitigate or investigate the exercise of this legitimate powers.

“I see no reason why this charge should not be struck out; this charge is hereby struck out.”

The judge also noted that the Attorney-General had statutory powers to initiate and discontinue a criminal proceeding in Lagos State.

Ms. Ipaye also struck the warrant of arrest she had issued for the arrest of Khilani and Chandra.

“An order of arrest made by this court for the arrest of the defendants dated April 3, 2017 is hereby vacated.

“This matter is adjourned sine die (indefinitely),” she ruled.

Earlier during the proceedings, Akin George, the state prosecutor, informed the court that the state had filed a notice of discontinuance dated June 29.

Mr. George noted that the Attorney-General, after reviewing the charges against the defendants, was of the view that the suit was to be discontinued.

“My Lord, we did inform this court on the last adjourned date that the Attorney-General was reviewing this matter.

“The outcome of this review is that the state has filed a notice of discontinuance of this trial, we pray the court strikes out this matter,” he said.

Following Mr. George’s submission, George Oguntade, counsel to Messrs. Khilani and Chandra, also urged the court to strike out the charges against the Britons.

He also urged the court to strike out the arrest warrant issued against the defendants.

NAN also reports that proceedings, however took an interesting turn when a team of 23 lawyers led by Ola Olayinka had before Ms. Ipaye’s ruling, protested in the courtroom the decision of the Attorney-General to drop the case.

Registering his displeasure, Mr. Olayinka introduced himself and the lawyers as ‘friends of the court’.

He said the Attorney-General should have not discontinued the case without giving any reason because it was of public
interest.

(NAN)


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