EFCC moves to arrest Cross Country boss

The Cross Country boss is facing a nine count charge of conspiracy.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has applied for a bench warrant to arrest Bube Okorodudu, transporter and Managing Director of Cross Country Ltd over an N8.2 million theft.

Emmanuel Jackson, counsel to the EFCC, told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja that Mr. Okorodudu is “still at large.”

Mr. Okorodudu, Cross Country Ltd, and Car Link Limited are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, and forgery before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiracy in the fraudulent sale of 17 units of Volkswagen transporter buses belonging to AG Moeller Ltd.

Mr. Jackson said he was applying for the bench warrant for Mr. Okorodudu by the combined provisions of Sections 79 and 80 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State.

“This honourable court has the power to issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant,” Mr. Jackson said.

“The first defendant (Mr. Okorodudu) should be in court but not enter the dock since the issue of jurisdiction is being challenged. We are urging your lordship to issue a bench warrant against the defendant,” added Mr. Jackson.

Robert Clarke, Counsel to the defendant, said the application for bench warrant was “uncalled for” since they were challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

At the last sitting, Mr. Clarke had filed an application arguing that the EFCC, being a federal agency, lacked the power to prosecute criminal cases before a state High Court.

On Monday, Mr. Clarke stated that the court adjudicating on a matter that it was yet to assume jurisdiction would amount to an elevation of “judicial rascality” to “judicial indiscipline.”

“Second 79 and 80 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State only applies to a situation during proceedings when trial has started,” Mr. Clarke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said.

“Your lordship cannot make any judicial pronouncement until the court has assumed jurisdiction. The issue is whether the accused person needs to be present in court when a motion challenging the
jurisdiction of the court is being determined.

“Until your lordship determines the issue of jurisdiction, issuing bench warrant is a judicial pronouncement it has to be made within jurisdiction not outside jurisdiction

The judge adjourned till April 8, for ruling and continuation of proceedings.

“In view of the fundamental and serious issues raised, the prosecution should file a written address within 14 days and the defence should file its reply within seven days,” the judge added.

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