Wilson Uwujaren, Abuja; In an apparent move to thwart the warrant of arrest issued against him by a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia state, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Prince Benjamin Benedict Apugo has asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja to transfer the case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The application dated 12 August 2016, is coming on the heels of a warrant of arrest issued by Justice D.E. Osiagor on 4 July, 2016.
A previous warrant was issued for the arrest of the defendant on 8 October ,2015 by Justice F.A. Olubanjo after he failed to appear before the court on same charge.
Apugo who was due to be arraigned in June 2015 on a three-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretense was alleged to have fraudulently sold six (6) plots of land valued at N36m belonging to the Nigeria Railway Corporation located at Umunwulari Nkata Ibeku layout, Planning Scheme Umuahia, to the petitioner sometime in March 2013.
The defendant has been elusive after being released on administrative bail by the EFCC.
He had through his counsel Professor Earnest Ojukwu, SAN tried to frustrate the case on three instances either by applying for the quashing or the transfer of the case to another judge.
After Justice Olubanjo was transferred and Justice Evelyn Anyadike took over the matter, Barrister Ojukwu moved a motion to quash the charge and set aside the bench warrant which was refused. Not deterred, the defendant petitioned the Chief Judge, claiming he had lost confidence in the judge.
Based on the petition, the Chief Judge transferred the case to Justice Osiagor who heard the two applications, and in considered ruling dismissed application to quash the charge and suspend the bench warrant.
He however ordered the defendant to appear before him pursuant to Section 87 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 on the next adjourned date.